Back to Wall Art Gallery Next Piece

Wednesday's Totally Useless Object
29"W x 19"H x 5"D

The meeting between Madame Poutard-Gassie and "S" had not gone well. The soup
ladle of their emotions had long since fallen into the bitter, boiling broth and
neither were willing to burn their tippy-tips plucking it out of the pot.

Her cyanide-blue Fourgonnette skidding over the slick gravel. Chateaux Croissant
fading into the treacly blackness.

Not four hours later...under the green / pink light of an uneasy dawn,
the freight wagon swayed gently on the pontoons, and smelled of sweet creosote.
Mme P.G. followed a line of green lime ants to the crate she was sat upon.
The stamp read "Marakesh Marshmallows" with a smudged graphic of a beamish cherub beneath.

She opened the oil-cloth package to reveal a child's white glove. Inside the glove
was WEDNESDAY'S TOTALLY USELESS OBJECT.

At the far end of the wagon, Thomson & Thompson were fighting their demons.
The lime ants halted their march and looked up eagerly. Mme P.G. removed the pencil
and began to write in her note book. Small, neat letters marched accross the page.

Her sister, Matilde, had married a farter on a street corner in Vancouver.

In Vacouver a couple of years back, I was waiting to cross the street at W. Broadway
& Ash when I looked down and saw a strange shaped, rusty metal shim with a hole
in one end lying in the gutter. I picked it up and that was the start of this piece.
The shim was drilled to take 8 brass posts, machined up from scrap brass rod. They were
threaded 2-56 at both ends, and cross drilled to take a set of sewing needles.
The needles were locked in place by 1/8" long grub screws at the tops of the posts.
I cut and filed out the centre of an old brass gear, then made 8 stainless steel rivets out of.
egg whisk wire. I rivetted the gear onto the shim around the hole.
Some steel sheet harvested from an old computer frame was machined and folded into
a supportfor the pencil. This was found in a box of my old school stuff and is at
least 40 years old.The ends of the fingers of the support were tapped 2-56 to take
the pencil which was drilled to take 3/8" long socket head screws.
The steel shim had some damege around one of the holes so a piece of copper sheet was
cut to shape and hammered in, plugging the damaged area.
2 posts were machined up from scrap brass rod and tapped 4mm each end to hold the
piece in the display box.
The lumber for the box came from an old door frame. Some pieces were cleaned up then
brought down to thickness in the planer.
The pieces of the box were then cut out and assembled, glued and clamped.
The box was then cut open on the table saw creating the display box and lid.
The 2 halves of the box were then machined out to take glass and bezels. Nail holes
from the original door frame are still visible. The whole box was then stained.
2 old hinges were cut into a circular shape, then rivetted onto steel discs made
from white painted steel sheet harvested from an old medical trolley.
A metal rod was turned down at the ends and tapped to join the 2 hinges.
The latch for the front of the box was entirely fabricated from scratch.
A jig was also made to hold the individual components in place for brazing.
The bezels for the glass were machined out of the same white painted steel.
The bezels were then drilled - 56 times for the box, & 55 times for the lid.
The glass was cut from old picture frame glass.
The sides of the display box were lined with hardboard that I covered in
gold leaf. Then the gloves were glued in place.
The sculpture is supported in the display box on the two brass pillars
screwed into the back of the box. Two old brass bolts were re-threaded 4mm
to fit the pillars.
The lid is backed with cardboard tinted with wood stain. The story written
in pencil on the tattered notebook page, that I stained with tea and red wine,
describes the continuing romantic misadventures of Mme Poutard-Gassie.
Once everything had been test fitted, all the metal hardware was left outside
for a few days to weather and rust. All brass screws were tarnished with acid
and heat.
After final assembly, a branding iron with my initials was machined up from a
block of scrap brass and used to burn "EE" into the back of the box. An old
QC sticker stained with tea, signed and glued onto the back. The date was
applied with an old office stamp from the Thrift Store.
This piece was created during rare periods of spare time in the workshop,
and took just over a year to complete.