Saturday, November 6, 2010

Clowns—no, it’s not about politics

It’s about the papier-mâché clowns I used to make. Most of them became lamps, and they all found homes. Papier-mâché means chewed paper, but I wasn’t that authentic. They were entirely handmade though. I made coat-hanger frames, tore newspaper into small pieces, and soaked it in a mixture of flour, water, and Elmer’s glue. Each clown took close to 40 hours to make , counting the drying time. The clothes were paper too. The oven was always on and steaming. Definitely a winter event. But it was fun. It did destroy the kitchen while I was doing it though. I can’t even write on a computer and be neat. My kitchen table was under this mess for weeks at a time.
The clowns were unique and most represented something or were doing something, such as napping. One was a boxer, one a cowboy, a baseball player, but all had clown faces and feet.
Later I tried using dolls for the base to save time, but they weren’t as interesting.
All this was many years ago, when our son was in middle school. One day he asked if I could pretend to be normal for a while and bake cookies or something that smelled good instead of paper. Since then we’ve come to appreciate that neither of us will ever be “normal.” He’s a musician, so he can’t say much.  

From now until Thanksgiving, I doubt if I’ll get any writing done. Maybe I’ll post about cooking—it’s better than cleaning.  I’d like to paint a couple of rooms, but I doubt I’ll have time. I don’t want just plain color, I want faux finishes. Nothing’s ever simple.

What do you do? Do you cultivate messy, impractical activities?


Polly said...

I did a whole room-14x17-in torn, crumpled-up grocery bags. It took me forever, but I only worked on it when I could give it the whole day. Took two years, but after I painted it in dark copper metallic paint, it looks great. I faux-painted a bathroom, too, then glazed it. I'm through being creative. It'll all look like this till I die.

Ellis Vidler said...

I sponge-painted my hall years ago, and John rag-rolled his dining room in orange, red, and gold. I love the effects but it does take time. I've got most of the wall paper torn down in a bathroom, so I need to get that done, but it may be the last of my efforts.

Sandy Hyatt-James said...

What a great hobby, Ellis. I usually just write and write. Years ago, I did lots of embroidery,so maybe I'll go back to that. Anything's better than watching some of the rubbish on TV, sheesh!

Vicki Lane said...

Love the clowns! Actually, I find most of my life to be a messy, impractical activity...