Hammer hammer hammer
I've been distracted by the garden so it's been a while since I really sat down with a pile of old inner tubes, a bag of rivets, some metal odds & ends and a hammer to turn something old into something new. Sat down to do it yesterday afternoon and didn't finish til 11pm, and then only because the aircraft noise had tapered off and stopped providing convenient cover for my slightly un-neighbourly noise output.
I spoke with someone recently who was saying that they loved surrounding themselves with their materials, that over time they became inspired by unexpected sides to things that could influence what they'd best become. Of course, she's an artist, and I'm a hobbyist- there's a huge difference- but it makes sense. I love the unexpected texturing of stamped rubber, serial numbers, puncture repairs, uneven wear, rust colouration and the inexplicable little symbols that punctuate the rubber I scavenge from bike tubes, seconds bins and the like. It can take a while sometimes to figure out where it's meant to go, whether to highlight it or tuck it away as a detail, but once it's framed right it resonates.
I like how people see at first glance a harness (plain black, slightly non-standard style- crossed at the back, strapped on the front) then look again and see lines and information, have to think a moment, then laugh- "inner tube?". More than that I like that I can check out pretty much anything made of rubber & rivets and work it out for myself, from this much give, that much tension, this point of support. I like that I'm someone who has trouble drawing a straight line with a ruler but nonetheless have a few small skills that let me make things that make people go "wow".
I think what I've learnt this year more than anything else is confidence in materially altering the world. Learning to grow plants, learning to make compost, learning to use a drill, learning to make things out of recycled rubber or whatever else is lying around- learning to pick things up and test their give and imagine a new purpose for them, then following through and discovering if it'll actually work. Learning to teach myself new things when I need to know them. Learning that the excuses I've always given myself for not engaging (I can't do it,
I'm just a girl, it'll be too hard, I'll make a fool of myself, if I can't do it perfectly there's no point trying) just don't cut it anymore.
Picture is my first-ever recycled rubber project. I've expanded somewhat since then but cuffs are still loads of fun. I'd be a bit more explicit about what I was making last night, but it may or may not become part of my NYE outfit, and I feel wierd committing that stuff to text before I know for sure.