Assemblage at Backstreet

A couple of weeks ago I was down at Backstreet Arts (donate here) and saw a wonderful little sculpture thingie by the door: a piece of 1x4 with a pointed top, it had a moon with a face and wings and other bizarre and beautiful things attached to it, and I wanted it. I offered to buy it from Kim, our fearless leader at Backstreet, but she told me that it was advertising the upcoming assemblage workshops.

Cool! Last Thursday morning I headed down and jumped right in. Kim had set up two or three long tables with all this junk that we could use to create our own "houses" (as she called them, since that's what they were shaped like). Participants ranged from the practiced and fearless (like me, of course) to a couple of people whose first time it was at Backstreet and for whom this was their first encounter with Making the Thing That Is Not at all.

Here's a brief look at my work, a lesson in GESTALT:


Just playing around with stuff, with symmetry/asymmetry, finding balance. I had brought the two blue glass drawer pulls from home, ended up not using them.  I found the button with the delta (at top) and a clock face (at bottom), and I liked the idea of connecting them with a chain.

Much work was required to figure out what to include and where to include it.  Place an object, step back, move it around, step back again.  Go back to the tables and rummage, grabbing stuff when it presented itself as a solution.  You know, GESTALT.


You could paint your board or you could cover it with a variety of patterned papers. Most people were using the tissue paper patterns (Butterick, etc) because that really looked cool.  I ran home and got an old dictionary "of facts" to use, and there were some old blueprints in a box. If you look carefully, you can see Dionysus along one edge and Apollo along the other.


More placement. I ran back home (again — thank goodness I live 60 seconds away) to grab a couple of boxes of copper tacks that I had used in another project.


Because the tacks are pure copper, I prepunched holes with an awl.  Some of them still bent, but imperfection is part of the aesthetic here.  Thank goodness.


Up the sides as well.  My original thought was to run the tacks up both edges of the sides, but after doing the front I decided it would be too crowded to do that, and so left it with just the front and top. (GESTALT)

Lastly, and this is always the scary part, I attached all the thingies: some were tacked on, some were glued. Even in the last stage I made a few changes to the arrangement. (SUCCESSIVE APPROXIMATION)

Here's the finished object back home.


Some close-ups:

Great art? Not at all.  But it's interesting, and it was certainly fun to do.  There's another session tomorrow night; I may go hang out just to watch.