Sunday, August 16, 2009
This is all my own fault, because after years of used lawnmowers (never buy a used lawnmower. Face it - working lawnmowers are not something people get rid of just so they can upgrade. You only sell an old lawnmower when you hate it so much that anything seems better.) and cheap lawnmowers and all the ills that lawnmowers are heir to, my mother, tired of the whining, offered two years ago to buy me a decent mower in exasperation. Driven by guilt and penury, though, I went and bought a cheap lawnmower on clearance and my mother threw up her hands in full on, all out exasperation. Yet again, mother was right.
Now, though, I have a shiny new lawnmower with wheels that will not fall off and today I not only put it together by myself, I mowed the whole front yard and moved the pumpkin, squash and gourd vines to do it AND pulled out the weedwhacker with its 500 foot green extension cord and whacked what I could not mow. It had been several weeks since the front yard was mowed at all so this was a massive endeavour and now I feel all strong and macho. Also, sweaty.
In more annals of mightiness, yesterday I made toxic art, which was entertaining and hopefully all the brain cells I burned were old and pointless ones. Glorble fmrph. No! Back now. Anyway, I made paperweights out of acrylic casting resin, which is something I've always wanted to do and since yesterday was the day when we celebrated Jodi and Charles and Kyles' birthdays, it was the perfect opportunity. Acrylic casting resin is the stuff of which clear paperweights with tiny starfish and seahorses floating in them that you buy at the Seashell Shop on Rehoboth Beach are made. You know those things: sometimes they have little ribbons or other tacky shit in them and on the bottom they say in script A Gift From The Sea. I love those things and I have long wondered how to make them, because I had this genius art idea years ago: giant versions. I want to make full body casts of acrylic polyester casting resin with cool things - meaningful, deeply symbolic things, like, you know, a book or something. Rocks. Whatever. - floating in them. It would be a sort of portraiture of objects, which I think there could be a big market for, because who wouldn't want a life size clear plastic statue of themselves with a bunch of souvenirs floating in it standing in their living room? No one, that's who.
However, one must start small, so I started with a can of resin, a small bottle of catalyst, an old muffin tin and an extremely frightening list of directions and warnings that ran to the lines of If This Touches Your Skin It Will Burn It Off and If It Gets In Your Eyes You Will Be Blind Forever and If You Breathe The Fumes You Will Fall Over And Become A Vegetable. I actually have some shells in the garage - of course I do. As far as I can tell, the Holy Grail is in the garage along with more or less everything else in the world. - so first I collected the shells and some shiny beads and the like and then I looked down at this twee little grouping of prettiness deeply dissatisfied and said fuck THAT. I was briefly stymied but then my eyes lit on the overflowing ashtray that is such an attractive design element on the back porch and a cartoon lightbulb went off over my head. Who needs cute when trash is at hand? Driven by inspiration, I made three paperweights, one with an old guitar pick and a rusty nail and a rubberband and a paperclip and a screw in it for Charles and one with an orange cocktail monkey and a scarab and a bottlecap and a blue chip of glass for Kyle and, for my friend Jodi, my close friend, the best: a paperweight with cigarette butts and burnt matches and a bottle cap floating merrily in it.
To make paperweights you mix up catalyst with the resin in a container, very carefully, and you are supposed to measure exactly, which is a bit of a problem for me. However! Just keep going, is my advice! Ignore the evil chemical fumes which will knock you sideways even if you do it outside. Then you pour one layer into each muffin tin and then you put your objects on that, wait twenty minutes and repeat the process until either the muffin tins are full or you've burned out the last vital brain cell, whichever comes first. They turned out extremely cool, or, well, I am absolutely sure that they will be extremely cool if - I mean when! When, not if! I swear! - they ever dry completely. I gave them to Charles and Kyle and Jodi last night (at Helen and Zen's lovely and incredibly delicious dinner party!) and they were a big hit even if they immediately had to be placed far away outside so as not to kill us all with the fumes.
This is just the beginning. I'm thinking about doing a whole bunch with cigarette butts and PBR caps and a tiny message that says A Souvenir of Broadways in them. They should sell like hotcakes and making them has its points: I kind of enjoyed the dizziness and disorientation. Glorble mmrpshsigh flhosinw.