NEW FINDS FOR NEW SPACES

It has been a portable accommodations desert since my last discovery of retro metal lawn chairs.  The last one Glenn found at the county waste disposal site needed a lot of work.  But it was FREE—the best!  We have not addressed its broken legs yet which is awful as its seat and back are among the most intact we have.  Maybe when one is forced to pay for something, the repair is more insistent.

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Today was a really fine morning for me at the flea market, but my partner came home with every bit of his money.  Sometimes that happens.  More money slipped from mine than usual between lawn chairs, sculpture raw materials, a fine chalk figure, and a cement lotus.

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Hard to believe, but there are spaces on this acreage that do not have a composition of old lawn chairs and gliders positioned so one can contemplate either nature or their navel.  I have been working behind the pool and beside the newly moved silo, and unfortunately there were no lawn chairs for that space.  The path below is now finished and a fig tree planted to the left of this area.

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Now that space will have two fine figures, and these are of a design never seen by me.  The backs and seats of the chairs are punched through with a series of capsule-like shapes.  The ones in the middle of the backs and seats look like the three tiny staggered windows that used to be on the front doors of tract houses back in the fifties.  The chairs look rusty here, but they are very solid.  They have lived outside lives nicely.  The holes in chairs do much more than make them beautiful.  They get water out of places where it might corrode the metal.  My earlier “free” find bent at the knees because water was allowed to settle there.  Those spots are like Achilles’ heel for outdoor furniture.

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This bar at the front of the seat on these chairs is new to me as well.  It may be simply a design choice, but water can gather underneath the front of the bottom plane if the metal is curled under to finish it.  These chairs seem to me to be of a cleaner design than those of the 1940s.  They might nudge towards 1960 in dating.

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This fine little pond accessory still had its original price tag on it.  It is from Henri Studio, Palatine, Il., and is a cement lotus flower.  It is dated 1987.  I have an email into the company now for information as to how to best hook it up.  It is extremely heavy and the sprayer is copper, just under the normal size of a water hose.

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THE WORKINGS OF CREATIVITY

Artists need to observe patterns in their behavior.  For me,  pattern is the most important element in art making.  Knowledge comes from repetition, visual cohesiveness comes from repetition, personal truths come from repetition.  Notice.

If the artist can pull way back and observe the chronology of their work, patterns will emerge.  Often, that pattern is seen retrospectively, but it helps to know what you are doing, even if you are in the middle of it.

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A while ago, I knew that sooner or later I would do something with chairs in my work.  Love their shapes and their differences.  We have two houses chock full of chairs, to the point that we can handle no more.  Where did this start?  Figured that out.

It was with my rather large collection of gliders.  Most are in good shape, nicely reflecting a well-used history.  Some are kind of abused however.  It was with these that the idea came.

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Glenn got this one for me off of a street in south St. Louis.  Its rails are gone, and the seat is full of automobile body putty.  I still wanted it.  I WANT THEM ALL.

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This one is in better shape, but the rails and swinging devices are totally gone.  It sits on nubs.  Low-slung.

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This aluminum glider skeleton never had any cushions.  I put pressure treated wood where the seat should be and have plants on it nine months out of the year.  Being aluminum, it is in fine shape.  It simply has no cushions.

I would love to be able to take parts of these gliders and mix and match them, weld them to the other, and make silly conjunctions.  My mind can see how wonderful they would be.  But I lack the skills.  Glenn has them, but he has his own work to do.  I dropped the idea and started working with wooden windows.  I can do screws and a drill.

The chairs did not leave completely however.  An early window sculpture features the back of a chair that was found in a house built in 1939 which was moved to our land.  It was used as a beautiful line.

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The detail shows also that an armrest for an outdoor aluminum chair was used in the composition.  The break in the pane of glass is highlighted in gold paint the way the Japanese do their broken teacups.

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Coming into the present, the image above represents a good haul from one day at the Goodwill Clearance Center, a place where parts for sculptures are secured.  The white baby high chair I bought for the wood, knowing that it would make great spacers to keep my windows from colliding.   They would do what the dowels are doing in the image below.

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I sat the doll chair in front of three windows for which I intended to use it as spacers.  Then I thought, why not keep the chair integral but also use it as spacers?  So below it is in progress.

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And here it is finished, but not photographed with an infinity wall yet.

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A child’s ladder, divided in two and wooden hammer complete the image.  The sculpture rolls around on wooden casters.

For the next chair in progress, the windows are completely dropped.  Interesting way to progress.

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PRESERVING THE SURFACES OF OLD LAWN CHAIRS

The chair on the left has been clear coated with very strong and very expensive hazardous polymer.  I waited a long time for a quart of this, and it arrived with special devices on the cap to assure that it would not open in delivery, and special warnings about flammability and application.

I bought these chairs and glider a couple of weeks ago, and the rust patterns were so fine.  It is their old design and look of use that draws me to these.  Most of my gliders and chairs look like this, but most are on porches with roofs.  Wanting to put this group outside in the new garden, I finally did some research and found a product that would allow this with hopefully no more rusting.

My husband belongs to an old truck club and gets a monthly magazine, and on the front one time was this same kind of surface on a restored truck.  The truck of course was in working order, and the surface was saved to show its history.  We have all heard this kind of advice from the experts on “Antiques Roadshow” and the like.

I scraped off all the loose rust on these chairs.  Often, the nuts and bolts have been painted over at least once, and care must be taken to pry all that out.  I used a wood chisel, and my husband feels I should ask forgiveness from the universe for using this tool in this application.  Amen.

This product cost $44 for a quart. Buy it at an auto paint store.  Let me give you the benefit of my mistake.  You must use all of this quart at the same time.  It is valuable, clear, workable and fine when first opened.  I used half of this intending to use the rest the next day.  Not so easy.  By the time I set to work again, even with careful hammering of the lid back on the can after the first use, the substance was already marching towards solidity.  I spread what could be spread, and then had to trash the rest, which killed me.

For the forty four dollars, and being lazy, I got five chairs finished totally, and parts of two more.  Next time I will have an abundance of chairs ready for treatment.

The above chairs got the new surface.  They are exactly the same chair as the one on the left below. These three are also  now clear coated.  The chair on the right has an aluminum body, and features many layers of paint.  I experimented with creating lines in various places revealing layers of paint underneath.  The surface of the chair now looks like a drawing.

Below is a detail of the chair on the left above.  The same original color is seen peeking out between areas of rust.

SCORE!

I paid more for this group from my local flea market than any other old glider and chairs.  Still it wasn’t near the prices on the web, or our nearest big city, Atlanta.

This glider has been on the front porch for years.  This and the new one were made by the same manufacturer but feature different patterns.  The gliding devices are  identical, and the heaviness of the metal used is greater than other gliders we have here.  On the edges of the arms of these gliders the metal has been folded against itself to make them much stronger.

The whole group of four was in such good shape.  Lately I have been rising to a new consciousness about these rusty surfaces.  Was it only last weekend when we found three chairs in a dumpster?

This chair is finished now, and waiting for clear coat.  Did some research yesterday, and am going to put auto body clear coat on this (and all of them, if it works) to preserve the colors and lines.  A couple days ago we realized this chair is aluminum, save for the tubing.  This is the only aluminum example we have.

Because of my newthink we hauled the group into the greenhouse which is not used for much during the summer.  Some of the rust on the  back sides of these chairs is deep.  That will be scraped off, and the rest preserved.


The support elements for the glider body have been replaced on this one, as the picture reveals.  These must be the weak link in this style.  Years ago when finding the one now on my front porch (at the “solid waste disposal site” as we call them in South Carolina) of course it was free, but had to pay 25.00 to a local welder to fabricate one gliding element.  Still a heck of a deal!