Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Used to Be So Crafty

Eustacia was home for the weekend and spent much of her time working on a photography project for a class. I'm not sure of the exact assignment, but she was busy gathering things that represented certain people, arranging them in a sort of still life and then photographing them with a light-projected image.

For example, she created this image at school, cutting dancers from paper and projecting the shapes onto a brick wall.

She worked on a setting to represent my grandmother who died abour 20 years before Eustacia was born. She used a photo of Memaw alone and one with her and my grandfather, her leather purse that dates back to the early 1900s and a postcard my grandfather sent to Memaw before they were married in 1920. She assembled the elements and projected antique lace over it all. Very nice.

Then she set out to create an image of me. It's interesting to watch someone walk around your house and gather things they think represent you. She chose these things—Judy the Monkey, which I have had since the age of 6; a preemie hat I knitted but never sent to a charity, a picture of me from kindergarten, an antique typewriter, a book of horn music and a picture of my two children when they were very small. And over it all, she projected the hands of a clock to represent the passage of time. I don't have the finished product to show you, but here is what I saw on the table as she was shooting:

Eustacia later reported she was concerned her composition was too sentimental, and her professor suggested setting the monkey on fire. I say this image is exactly appropriate—anyone who keeps a stuffed monkey for 43 years is definitely sentimental, so an image that represents her should be as much.

Not one to be left with nothing to do, I decided to be crafty, too, like I used to be. I found instructions online for transferring a photograph to canvas and followed those to the letter. You start by painting a canvas with acrylic paint. Then you print out a photograph, put it face down onto the painted surface and allow the whole thing to dry. You then spritz the paper with water and gently rub it off with your finger to reveal the image. Nice idea, but what I didn't realize is that this only works with an ink jet printer, and all of our printers are laser jet, so there is no actual dusty ink to rub off onto the paint. What I ended up with is a thin layer of printed paper firmly dried into the paint, and the image is only visible at certain angles and in certain light. I'll try this again when I can find an image printed with ink jet.

Here is the photo I started with—my father-in-law as a toddler sitting beside his sister when they were children in Brazil:

And here is the end result of a project not done correctly—Eustacia's work is so much better, and like I said, I used to be so crafty:

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