May 6, 2015

Gypsy Sign of the Times

I knew I had been away a long time. Upon my return, I figured I had to bring my A-game. The piece I present today fits the bill, folks. It has the feel of a good ol' Nonphilter, nansensu piece. Also, this gem sports a couple well-thought innovations I am mighty satisfied with.

The cabinet door came first in the process. Of course, there was little inspiration to draw from it, as the style is about as simple as they come. While I often get ideas from the shape of the wood or the detail of the molding, I had to look elsewhere this time.

Ultimately, the spark came from some alley gold I had salvaged a couple years back: a lens from a discarded projection television. The idea to use it as a crystal ball came as a pleasant surprise, out of the fog that is my brand of brainstorming, and I could see the 25-cent detail there, too.

So that was my jumping off point. I fished around in my various bags and bins of hardware, looking for a way to secure the lens to the wood. The brass tabs I settled on for the bottom worked well for the bottom, looking like they could be feet on a simple base holding up a crystal ball. However, the lens was a bit shaky and needed something more to hold it in place.

I could see that positioning two screws along the upper edge of the lens was going to be the least obtrusive solution. They would provide the 'grip' I needed to keep the glass from popping off the wood, but they were also going to wreck the feeling that this was a crystal ball, and not simply a curved piece of glass secured at four points.

When I stepped back and considered the entire composition, I could see hands beside the 'ball', like the hands of a fortune teller preparing to see the secrets revealed. And, though these hands were going to be painted directly to the background, just as the eyes would be, I realized they did not have to be.

As if summoned from the crystal ball, I saw the glorious solution. The hands would be cut from scrap Masonite. Each hand would be made up of two pieces, 2 digits and 3 digits respectively. while the thumb and forefinger would be mounted directly to the background, the remaining three could be positioned above the lens. This would hide the screw heads and provide a nifty way to show depth.  

How is that for using my head! I may be easily amused, but I can tell you this idea is a tiny triumph I can hang my hat on. I mean, I chuckle when I see it! its that good!

The 'sign within a sign' is not as unexpected, at least in terms of what you might see in art I make. Again, its that nansensu style.  I have a thing for chains, too. You see, I have bags of links that were part of a windfall bestowed upon me when the relative of a friend was closing their trophy shop. There was a lot of items collected, but the links seem to have been the most useful so far. Connecting them into a proper chain is no trouble, and the chains proved perfect for securing the 'Jade Oracle' sign.

While the majority of the sign received a bit of 'roughing up', with sandpaper and scrapers, the 'Jade Oracle' sign called for a different approach. First, I saw in my mind the handcrafted signs from long ago, with their words carved into the wood.

It needed to appear old, so  I decided to give it a touch of the 'cracked paint' look. Its a look that can easily be overdone, so I tried giving it just enough crack-age to compliment the aging on the rest of the piece.   

Finally, I gave it bit of scumbling, using a lot of water and a few earthy shades of paint. This helped achieve an even older, and dirtier appearance. After all, the sign says 25-cent readings are available. The last time anything was 25-cents was a long, long time ago.