The pack rat urge is so strong in me that when I redesigned and organized my studio several years ago, I decided I needed a place for all these things, so among the boxes neatly labeled things like "Acrylic Craft Paint", "Adhesives and Glue", and "Armature Wires and Tape", I have a box which bears this label; " I Can Use That For Something!"
I imagine that I am not the only artist with such a box, and I also imagine that we all have a similar box in our brains, because we compulsively collect something else as well--ideas and inspiration! We can't help it! Colors, textures, shapes, sounds, smells, movement, bits of songs and poetry--we stash all these things away, sometimes consciously, sometimes not, into that special "I Can Use That For Something" part of our brains. Then, periodically we rummage through our boxes, both the physical one and the metaphorical one, and a creation-- sometimes one many years in the making-- comes into being!
My piece for the "Funk and Junk Challenge Gallery" happened just like that. When I read the announcement of the challenge, I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I rummaged through my junk box and pulled out a broken wine bottle opener I had been saving for at least ten years. When the corkscrew part broke off, I told my husband not to throw it away because I was going to make something with it. I knew even then what I wanted to make because stashed in the I-Can-Use-That-for-Something part of my brain there was a memory of playing with my parents' wine bottle opener when I was a child. I loved the way it's "arms" moved up when you pressed down on it's "head". It reminded me of a Jumping Jack toy my baby brother had.
So now, many years after playing with a wine bottle opener, and many years after saving the broken one, I have made my Jumping Jack (in the Box) toy! In addition to the broken wine bottle opener, I used other junk from my stash: hanger wire, electrical wire, a recycled gift box, bits of pencil erasers, a bobbin from a sewing machine I no longer own, and mohair and fabric scraps and trims left over from other projects. He is a combination of two classic toys, a Jack in the Box and a Jumping Jack. When the handle is turned his head and arms go up and down.
I am nearly finished. I have to attach the bottom of his box and I will be adding a bit more air brush shading to his face and hands, but I thought you might enjoy some work in progress photos:
Click on any photo to see it larger.
|I didn't end up using the old sweater and the cork...|
|This shows the basic idea for the movement.|
|Wire wrapped around the middle shaft and taped in place.|
|Head and arms added. the wire is to keep the batting (added later) out of the inner workings.|
|Working on the movement involved a LOT of trial and error!|
|A hole in the bottom allowed me to make adjustments.|
|Nearly there! Trim pinned while the glue dries.|
|The square to the left will be the bottom cover.|