THE STORY OF AN AESTHETIC

 

The following are some of the most loved things around here.  Stuff that shows its history is most meaningful.  Ghosts of things.  Things that have BEEN places and in others’ hands.  This little desk was in an old barn made of railroad car wood and was on the property Glenn bought in 1974.  It sat in that barn until my discovery in 2008.  I love it.  It has no drawer, but who cares?

1-finished furniture

The little black hoof-like feet are original.  Just had to take a picture of it on the piazza we are laying.

1-old furniture

Some child, at some time, made stars.  We preserved them.

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Found this old aluminum lawn chair in a dumpster.  It had been painted many colors in its life.  Used a tool and dug into the last paint job, the black, and revealed other colors as I chose.  Then it was protected with a thick “varnish” for metal.  Where to put it?  The decision wasn’t difficult.  I have had this amazing ceramic piece for decades.  They were made for each other.

1-crayon chair in situ

The following two pictures are not very good, but they illustrate how I added color to the walls of my home when renovating, and how color is discovered in my sculptural work.  Above with the lawn chair, the same thing was done.  Scrape or sand away layers of color to reveal the color history of the thing.  This house was built in 1939 and a lot of life has taken place here.  I let it show.

orange molding

sanded wall

Below is the back of the house just after we moved it to our acreage.

house

So, it makes sense that my aesthetic should one that celebrates the history of a thing.  The Japanese call it wabi.  Or sabi.

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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!

CODE

The back of our new master bedroom and bath addition is looking Japanese, this addition to our 1939 southern farmhouse.  My guess is that the hipped roof, and the linear windows and posts are doing this.  It doesn’t bother me; I lived in Japan as a child and studied Japanese art history in graduate school, and try to integrate Japanese aesthetics into my work.  Even though, it is surprising that Japan turned up here.

Here is the inside view of the same windows.  These stretch across the bathroom area which takes up the last about one fourth of the room addition.  There is a glass door to the left of these windows.  The windows are old, were free, and are mis-matched.  They are beautifully glazed and it took Glenn about three days to do it.  He is such a perfectionist.

In terms of the international code in effect everywhere now, our builder first thought that the Japanese windows would not pass.    They are too close to the floor, and are too close to the door.  There is not enough wall space in these two areas.  So what the officials tell one to do, is to nail up particle board to the correct dimensions, and then call them.  In this case, because the rest of the windows in the house subscribe to the code, the vast majority, these windows would be ok.  Moot point.
The same kind of “now you see it, now you don’t”  is true for the awful particle board on the deck.  It passed, of course, but who would have a deck like that?  Glenn is making a welded steel banister to replace what you see here.  Neither one of us expected the deck to be anchored by 6″ x 6″ posts.  Glenn is going to take a chainsaw to those posts and trim a lot of that mass away.  But the deck has passed code.  ?????  I don’t get it either.

News flash:  the concrete siding ordered, with a similar texture to the old pine on the house is too wide, and not forgiving enough for us to simply say to overlap it to a greater dimension in order for the new room to have the same parallel lines as the old house.  Now what to do.  We have the weekend to think about it.

These french doors and stained glass window which used to look outside, now look out to the new bedroom.  At the right you can see that there will be old pine siding in the bedroom, which we kept because of its textural interest.  We could strip this away, and use it outside, but there is not enough to do the job.

At least we do have lights!

GLIDER LADY

Around my home “city”  (more like a community as they call it here;  to us, it is a crossroads), I am the art lady.  The center of this organic place is the “Solid Waste Collection Site”.  The trash heap.  Remember, this is South Carolina.

They don’t call me that to my face; it is my reference.  Perhaps because at the solid waste collection site,  sometimes I am more interested in acquiring trash than delivering it. And it is a good place to exchange all kinds of information about others.

So this art lady started this blog to talk about her work, and maybe sell it, and when writing about my ten gliders, the “hits” go way up.  Now maybe I am the glider lady.  More than once help was given me to take an old glider out of the dumpster.  One time, up in the biggest city near here, I was refused help and refused the glider.  Said those were the rules.  Once the thing is in the dumpster, it stays.

I have a solution to this art vs. glider problem, and would do it if it were possible.   I would weld eccentric elements on gliders and call them “art”.  Can see it all now; it would be wonderful.  But not being a welder, the job is too big for me.  Have tried to interest my husband in this, but he is allowed to have his own art.  It would not be fair for him to do mine.  He IS a welder.

The picture of the fine glider shown above is one a friend sent to me.  Her grandfather made it, and she learned through the blog that what she had was a glider, not a swing.  It had been in the basement for forty years when she rescued it.  What is wonderful about it is that it shows its various painted history.  The colors represent its decades of life.

Of course another stunning feature is the circular structure on both ends, securing the system that allows it to glide.  This example is made of wood.  It is a family piece and should go on forever.  Good that it is under a roof.

Think about gliding on a front porch ( wish I had the one my grandmother, Mattie, had on her front porch in Decatur, IL).   Gliding is like a heartbeat.  It is rhythmic and it calms everyone, not just babies.  Admitting my history in textiles, I know for sure that weaving on a floor loom does the same thing as the beater bar establishes a rhythm.  Of course, rhythm is predictable, we know what comes next, and is therefore soothing.  It is through rhythm, otherwise stated, pattern, that we feel more comfortable.  Its resemblance to a heart beat cannot be overstated.

This is a swing on my front porch.  It precedes in the collection all the gliders, and is fun to have, but maybe not as expressive as a glider.

GLIDER EYEBALL ADDICT

This is the view out the study window, where my writing takes place.  You have already seen the gliders on my front porch, just out the french doors from here.  So I have three gliders within close eye shot, in case sitting and swinging is needed.  We use them but also they are sculpture to me.

This glider hangs from the oak under which I placed the house several years ago.  It is where phoning takes place since the tin roof on the house wrestles with connections.  This glider was traded for a cool aid pitcher and one other silly thing about four years ago.  It is my only swinger.

Here is a cat’s eye view of the glider.  Notice the little vignette of bricks under it.  This is a current interest, and we have little outcroppings of brick all over the acreage in pertinent places.  The glider is in very good shape, and of course its rust and discoloration are still intact.  As with all my metal outdoor furniture, older paint jobs peek out from current ones.  It is great to show the history of where the glider has been.  We are all the result of our histories.

We have a series of circular gardens working down the side of our house, and here you can see ginger lilies in the foreground.  In the middle of this garden is a palm that is putting up its first flower ever.   Also in the garden are nandina, regular and dwarf.  Spider worts are let go until they get too invasive, and then I leave only the ones that are nicely placed.  There is also a small sculpture here made from old window weights.

Wherever our centipede grass does not grow, we install brick.  Ajuga helps in this job.

MORE NOT GLIDERS

More people read my entry about gliders than any other (see I LOVE GLIDERS) and addicted to eyeballs as I am now, there is plenty more about gliders that we can talk about.

But my worlds are colliding.  Looking at my last post about the surprise anniversary gift purchased (AQUA DAY AT THE LOCAL FLEA), by the Sunday after the purchase, I was wondering why the hell I bought a baby stroller for a man!  Wallowing in self-doubt, I told myself that he loves FENDERS, tools of all kinds, old stuff in general.  The thing cleaned up nicely by the way, and Glenn even came home with a picture of himself in one of these, although it was a Chevrolet to my Caddie.  Glenn will tell you himself that he is a Chevy guy.

I don’t think any of my lifetime of gifts has been more appreciated!  I was so happy at his excitement, his actions (jumping on ebay to find similar ones, pulling out his childhood pic, our discussion about it).  It was then, during this discussion, and our finding comparables on the web, and that the same company made many of these, on many price point levels and styles, that I could see that these carriages also conform to my theory about means of transportation following the predominant style of transportation of the day (at the beginning, cars looked like horse drawn carriages, then trains, then planes).

Here is our new one all cleaned up.  I am now making the assumption that if a person likes old gliders, they are going to like old strollers.  Both are made of the same material, they have stamping on the sides or back, they move, they have different positions you can choose.  Of course, strollers can have fenders, and gliders do not.  That is a big minus for a glider.  Glenn is a sculptor who works  in metal.  I have two partial gliders that I want merged, and cannot do it myself.  I think the result would be soooooo fine, and I know we could work in some fenders.  Should I learn to weld?

What makes me think this stroller is older than some of them that I see on ebay is the plane that the toddler’s back rests on.  It moves up and down, and the normal position is straight up, just like the green glider on my older post.  When we get into the 40s and 50s and sultry deco lines take over, the strollers by the company reflect that.

Looking at ebay today, I found two strollers like ours, but with a more modern seat.  The newer ones are not straight up and down;  they consist of  one bent plane with each side connecting to the tray where the play beads are.

I haven’t seen one just like ours, and this one has been painted differently (sorry for the quality of the picture).  Here is another paint job, but still the seat is a wrap-around one.

Isn’t this one fine?   The next picture is Glenn and his mom,  in the height of the baby boom.  Look at those houses! This has to be the winter of 1952 in Ferguson, Missouri.   Still the curved seat with much less wood used on the stroller.

The company name for these strollers is BABY TAYLOR TOT.

Finishing up the metal furniture on my front porch, here are two nice metal single chairs, like gliders, one with an unusual flower pattern.

AQUA DAY AT THE LOCAL FLEA

Did you ever notice that a visit to a flea market will feature a theme of the day?  Like you see more wheelbarrows on one day than you have ever seen.  Or it is Roseville day, or old mixing bowl day, or enamel topped kitchen furniture day (love it when that day comes into the rotation).  Well today was organized for me by color, MY color, aqua.   I spent more at the flea today than I ever have.  Usually, when the junk adds up to about twenty bucks, I run for the car and feel so happy.

My husband is crazy about fenders, the contour metal things that used to cover about half of the wheel on old cars from the forties and fifties.  Look at what he did to his art trailer.  These fenders are from a 1950 Chevrolet pickup.  He gave me these details.  We have the front fenders in the barn waiting for a  re-purpose.

The stroller below was a big part of my aqua day.  I bought it for our anniversary, and because my husband loves fenders.  He also loves tools.  This carriage has an expandable back on the seat, FENDERS, a brake, it folds up, and I don’t know what else (Harry don’t say a thing about this!).  It even has part of the rubber protectors for the bumpers. Rubber baby buggy bumpers!  I will know more after I clean it.  Several people today told me they saw one just like this on one of the current junker TV shows, and that it sold for $1500 after restoration.    AND they said this one was in better shape than the TV one in the beginning.  I did not pay much at all for it, but a little more than my norm.                                                                                                                   

Here is a close up of one of the fenders.

You can see at the back of the running board that it is cleaning up nicely.  Not being a patient person, I just had to get this little gem out into the world.

Now to clean it!

NOT EVERY BUILDING IS WELL DESIGNED

I love this building addition.  I am thinking it did not work out correctly.  Maybe somebody ran out of money.  It is attached to a roadhouse on the way to Springfield, SC., and is about seven miles from my house.  On the same highway, running the other way from my house about the same distance, there is an old building that was for sale for way over a  year.  The sign said “Rent to Owen”, because that is the way most people talk around here.  No wonder it was for sale for such a long time!

 

 

Every time I see this roadhouse, I think of Duccio’s “Entrance into Jerusalem”.  This painting is categorized as early in the Renaissance style as we see a painter addressing the new technological interest of the Renaissance, namely linear one point perspective.  Artists were on the curve of understanding how to depict our physical world on the canvas, or wall, or altarpiece, but Duccio, bless his heart, was not firing on all cylinders just yet.

 

 

In the foreground, we get another door to nowhere, similar to my roadhouse door, at the end of a wall that looks more like a terrace in this context.  Duccio KNEW that with this new perspective system, the sizes of things changed at a distance, just like in real life,  but for this painting, he changed the figures in the wrong way.  If you look at the crowd greeting Jesus (identified by his halo, a remnant of the Middle Ages) and his entourage, as it works back in space, the figures get bigger.  Good try, Duccio.  We can see you thinking.

I LOVE GLIDERS

It has not been so long since I fell in love with gliders.   During the seven years I lived alone in adulthood, interests that were only sparked earlier came to full force.  One of those interests was cheap metal.  Don’t get me going about hammered aluminum.  Today’s post is about gliders and their beauty.

I read once that the style of automobiles follows the dominant form of transportation.  This comparison works for a few decades, I think, but gets lost currently.  When cars were invented, they looked like horse drawn carriages.  Later, they began to look like engines on trains, and after that, airplanes.  Now  I think they look like running shoes, which is probably why I cannot find one I would like to buy. They ALL look like running shoes.  But running is not the dominant form of transportation just now.  I would like it to be, but it is not.

I don’t know for sure, but I think gliders follow the same pattern.  The older ones I have are more upright more like a Model T than a railroad engine.

This example is on  my front porch which looks bare now, in the winter.  I think I paid 15 dollars for it.  It has some rust and some dings, but I keep my gliders honest and reflecting their history.  I don’t want to wipe all that out by fussing over it and repainting.  I think the appreciation for this idea came with my study of Japanese art history, and their concepts of “wabi” and “sabi”.  Let things show their history; what they have experienced and what they have survived.  I use that thought in my art as well, depicting my own body with all the scars of cancer operations I have had.  It is my history, it is me.

As an aside, I transported this glider, another red one, and two metal side chairs all on the top of my old Volvo station wagon.  Where there is a will, there is a way.  And I think the whole lot cost me forty dollars!  I have a friend who says you could pay three hundred dollars for a glider in Atlanta.  Maybe not these, though. 

This glider is one of my favorites.  It sits less upright than the first one, and I therefore think it is younger.  The patterning is excellent, and this aqua is its original color.  Aqua is MY color. It is made of metal double the dimension of the first one, and is very solid.  This is also on the front porch and you can see some of the tile that I applied to the front of my house behind it in the picture.  In our county, we are so poor, we have “solid waste disposal sites” with big bins for metal, glass, etc.  The man who ran our site helped me lift it out of the metal bin, and put it in my car.  I was lucky.  I found one glider at the top of the metal bin another time, and the employee wouldn’t let me get it.  Said it was against the rules.  I hate those kinds of rules.  It is much more fun to dumpster dive.