I have just finished a couple of fun commissions. They seemed to me a bit like Project Runway challenges-- in each case someone came to me with a box of unconventional materials and said, "Can you make something from this on a deadline?" Fortunately the deadline was much more than 24 hours, and the clients much more helpful than Heidi Klum. I'll share the interesting challenge of one of these today: The Ugli Tie challenge. (I'll show off the TYVEK ruffle wedding pillow another time....)
A woman who had seen my Artomatic installation thought I might be just the person to make something from her husband's ugly tie collection. Her husband gets a kick out of outlandish ties and had a box of well over 100 labeled UGLY TIES. He had collected them over many years from thrift stores and helpful friends. It was an exquisite collection.
One person's ugly is, of course, another person's FABULOUS, which is why I have changed the word to "ugli." There were some skinny silk 50's ties, wide polyester 70's ties, Oleg Cassini luxury looks and heartfelt but ill-advised crafty projects. They were each wonderful in their own way.
The task was to create a large (3-foot wide by 4-foot high) piece to hang above the stairs to the 2nd floor, where it would be seen when someone descended. I was instructed not to make anything too "Kountry Kraft" in spirit and to be more 2-dimensional than 3-dimensional. We also agreed to keep some "Tieness" rather then cut all into tiny pieces. Here's the finished wallhanging.
The problem that presented itself was how to make something that was not just a dizzying swim of patterns and colors. I took some of the more outlandish and detailed prints and put them in a lower corner where they could be viewed at closer range.
Then to give the eye places to rest I introduced a few plain ties. From the MANY remaining ties, I chose a grouping that repeated blues, browns, oranges and whites and also stripes and polka dots. My hope was to use these repeating themes to give the eye a way to travel around and make connections.