confederate housetramp art

My friend Sally commissioned me to make an urn for her late kitties.  They were dearly loved for their long lives.  Sally had them cremated, and the remains of her late cats are with her and the rest of her family.

Sally is a cancer survivor, as am I.  When she said that she meant it to be a final place for herself as well,  she wondered if the idea was too strange.  To me, it was incredibly healthy-thinking, and I pointed out (as if she did not know) that her personal use for the urn was a long way off.  I have found one way to keep the beast at bay is to engage in creative thinking and creative work.  Her therapist loved the idea too, so we started on this journey.

Tossing around the idea of a wonky house with a tin roof for the urn,   I saw in the South Carolina Relic Room at the State Museum in Columbia the structure on the left.

This is my cheap photo shot of the hand made thing.  First thinking it was “tramp art”, we got closer to see the unmistakable South Carolina raw materials:  shells from our beaches.  It memorializes many men.  Have no idea if it contains a useful inside, and what might be in there.  This gave me some ideas, and something to react to.  To the right above is a piece of tramp art, and you can see the similarities.


So this is Sally’s urn; photographed face on the structure is a little deceiving.

Found a little wooden box at the flea market for a quarter.  Perfect for a door opening, the cat portal, seen here above the steps at the entryway.  A little cat sentry protects.  In the cat portal are pictures of the two late kitties.  Tiny tea sets and salt shakers decorate the portal.  That’s one of Sally’s tattoos to the right of the golden salt shaker.


And there is a wonky rose window made of jewelry.


When the urn is turned, there is a better understanding of the structure.


Jewelry and personal items are included all over the surface of the house.  And pictures of the family.


I love the quiet side of the house.  It provides a nice relief to all the frenzy on the other sides.  Took four family pictures, cut them into equal fourths, and reconstructed them.  Isn’t that what family is about?


Below is the last side.  This house is a celebration of a family and of South Carolina, and it is going far away.


A rosary creeps its way along these last two sides, in contrast to a neon green weapon from Star Wars.  Had a tile that had the words “South Carolina” on it; smacked it with a hammer and used two remnants of the words.  No need for the whole thing.  The roof is made of chopsticks.


Under the roof is an amazing surprise.  Sally creates dioramas using dolls.  Bits of some of her best, which she made into postcards, line the inner surface.

This has been so much fun to work on, and is the first thing that Glenn and I have done together.  His expertise in the details with the creating of the house shape were invaluable.  Learned a lot.