A lot of times I’ll see a thing that reminds me of a living or imaginary creature of some kind and I have to drop everything and turn whatever it is into a creature that everyone can recognize. I do this mostly because I think that I or perhaps other people will get a kick out of it. Sometimes it’s just outlining a wood grain to make it look like a monster or affixing eyes to a piece of fruit or painting a rock to make it look like a hedgehog. Or whatever. Sometimes I arrange word bubbles around dead bugs to make it look like they’re talking. That sort of thing.
The main thing to remember about working with a found object is that you have to be true to the object and not change it very much. Otherwise you lose whatever it was that you saw in the object in the first place. Like if you found a rock or a potato chip that looked like Nixon. Adding hair or a body with arms giving the peace sign would detract from the object. It’s a miracle that that you found a rock or a potato chip that looks like Nixon and you have to respect that. If your rock does not look enough like Nixon to stand on it’s own maybe you’re reading too much into it.
But back to the point at hand. The other day one of Don’s pals with whom he plays music came over with one of these lights.
It’s a little light that you clip onto your music stand. It illuminates two pages of music at once with the two lights. And it looks JUST LIKE A SNAIL!!!! With eyes on stalks! I was so excited when I saw that light. All I could think about was attatching a mouth to it to make it look like a snail creature. We found the lights in town here for $17.50 each so resale of the item was not out of the question. I just had to come up with something simple to stick on it.
Immediately I ran into problems placing a mouth on the area of the light I believed to be the most logical–opposit the pinchy side of the clip. Things cannot be affixed to almost any portion of the clip without interfering with it’s clipping action or the battery storage. Indeed, the clipping action is why most people buy the thing in the first place. Hmmmm. Another problem arose when I considered that most people use the clip vertically. In that position it looks less snail like though it could still be something, what with the long stalk eyes.
I wired a mouth to the area where the stalks meet the clip but it just didn’t do anything for me. The glass was too different from the black light. It didn’t appear to be part of anything. I continued on and made little dinosaur hands and a different mouth. That looked ok but I noted I was wiring together the eyestalks which detracted from their usefulness. Eventually I just did what I thought would look best–adding the nose and eye bead, which made the light stalks antennae and limited the usefulness of the light.
Though still temporarily wired, it is aesthetically pleasing to me now, this antennaed creature light, though it’s weight and restricted light antennas make it a less functional product. It still works, though. It will be a cool thing to have at a show. In retrospect, even thinking about sticking a mouth on it was not being true to the snail light’s nature. The moral of the story is, if I wanted a light that looked like I snail, I should have just left the light the way it was when I first fell in love with it. Sometimes you can’t improve on things that naturally look like other things.