Tag Archives: shrinky dink

Shopping and choking and expressing outrage

shrinkydinkface-deemallonAfter another (much worse) failure to indict, I was drawn to resurrect (ha, ha) this African Christ figure. It was something to do. There is the sense that there is no keeping up. There’s no keeping up with the tragedies. I set aside my Ferguson quilt to work on it.
christ-deemallon-assemblage

It was so weird to Christmas shop this morning. As I walked along Rte. 9, I considered continuing east all the way to Boston. But — why? Why would I do that except to prove something to myself? Or to walk off confusion and despair? I was eating duck egg rolls in an Irish tavern in Brookline last night, unaware of the gathering in Boston. So maybe it would have been something closer to atonement? Taking in impressions of the day-after?

No. I went shopping. Bought a lot of chocolate. Made and then cancelled an appt. at the Apple store. Bought warm shirts or nice tees for everybody.

Back to the crucifixion (see how disjointed?!!) The figure was constructed a couple of years ago and I never really knew what to do with it. Back then, I drilled holes into the area around the head and so I could loop waxed linen and beads in. For the crown of thorns, I attached a wood pick thing that I found somewhere (I don’t know what it was).

For the torso and legs, I hammered wool roving to a fairly thick stick. There’s one rusty and long to represent the spear. If the nail is one original to our house, it dates back to the time of slavery.
assemblage-deemallon

I mounted the figure to a red slat, using a dried hosta stalk as arms. There were shrinky dink hands earlier, but I cracked one of them trying to orient them face up.assemblage-deemallon-rust

I found the rusty coil walking home from the mall — picked it up, wondering what it means to live in a society where some people are disposable.

This morning I tied a ribbon of burnt velvet around the neck and knotted it tightly. It was hard not to feel a little sick while doing so.
embroidery-deemallonThere are words under the body that came from an old quilt called “Valentine to Iraq”. On that quilt, I repeated the words, “All mothers of sons want them to live.” The fragment above ended up in a little composition by itself and is sized about right for the cross and figure. The only words here are : “of sons / want them”.  They will not be visible unless you lift the body.
IMG_6626 The indigo stripes along the bottom were started in South Carolina and finished here. I like the fact that the cloth spent some time on “Rebellion Farm”, so named because the Stono Slave Rebellion happened near or actually there, I don’t know which.
quilt-rust-indigo-deemallon

In keeping with the idea of a ‘house quilt’ that shows only a small piece of roof and all sky, I considered the quilt without the figure.
deemallon-assemblage-quiltI ditched the hoodie idea — too cumbersome and obvious and it would have been horrible to stitch through. The hood would have required stuffing, too, to avoid the association with KKK hoods.

I like the butter soft linen better.

shadows at the mall

shadows at the mall

For the second time recently, I found myself thinking about outrage. Is it righteous? Self-righteous? Do I say stuff in an attempt to convince somebody of something? Or am I just needing to express that outrage? Can I trust my sources? More personally, what is it about African American suffering that has so gripped me, changed me, propelled me? Do I have to explain that? Or, apologize for that? Will this nightmare ever end? Will the protests make a positive difference (I hope so)? Are we in the middle of an “American Winter” — with social media changing everything (please, please)? If I were more spiritual, would I be better at letting go of ‘for’ and ‘against’?

Mostly, tonight, I think: Who gives a shit about upper-middle class discomfort at the moment… I offer it to you anyway.

In time for Good Friday

christ-off-center

Finished this figure in time for Good Friday.

The face is Shrinky Dink, the body, unspun wool, covering a bark-less stick.  A garbage-picked scarf wraps around his neck, and a found rusty nail is tied to the torso.  The wool is nailed to the stick with small brads.  Most of the nails represent, well, nails, but the rusty one represents the spear that impaled Christ’s body.

christ-full1

The cross is a found piece from a little red wagon and arms are either day lily or hosta stalks saved from last year’s garden.

christ-hand

The hands are Shrinky Dink as well.  I have embellished the face with beads and waxed linen.  The crown of thorns are florist toothpicks on wire.

crucifix-upward

The face comes from a book of African portraits that I have (and currently can’t find, in order to cite).  This man was in an ecstatic trance.

The most satisfying part about making this figure was the sense of completion — the face and body had hung around the studio for at least a year before the other components found their way to the piece.  There is nothing like a marker in time (like a holiday, and specifically, Good Friday) to provide a little motivation.