Friday, April 9, 2010

harriet the weird

i saw this bizarre bipedal table at a thrift store and couldn’t resist its charm. it bears the signature of its evil genius creator on the bottom--“harriet k--, 1972”--so i decided harriet is its name.

the fabric covering was stained and icky, so harriet became a project. i have a tendency to start a lot of projects all the time, some get pushed back, some i work out in my head and then never finish, and so on...basically this table spent over a month clunking about the back of my car, then probably another two months floating around my craft room in various stages of development.

it took me an hour to de-upholster the tabletop. not because i’m pathetic, rather because harriet k did a serious number on the construction. there were three layers of ugly, decomposing fabric secured with glue, heavy-duty staples, motherfucking office staples, pushpins and shoe tacks. wow, harriet. i mean obviously the heavy-duty staples alone would never have been sufficient to hold some fabric to a piece of plywood, but did you really have to break out the office stapler? my implements of attack were more numerous than the fasteners they sought to unfasten: scissors, pliers, a screwdriver, a hammer, a hand planer, sandpaper and my bare hands. not only was it absurdly difficult to pry everything up, but it was a big old rusty tetanus-fest to boot.

i realize now that the more reasonable method would’ve been to simply remove the plywood and screw down a new piece. did i think of that at the time? no. although if i’d done that i would’ve lost the artist's signature and date. provenance, you know. it’s important.

once i had the surface relatively clean, my first plan was to paint it black, decoupage ripped-up vintage sheet music then paint a cicada on top and varnish it. that plan stalled in stage two; the decoupage was a spectacular catastrophe. you’d think that by age 24 i’d have the knowledge and skills necessary to glue paper to wood, but apparently not. maybe it’s harriet’s curse. maybe i should’ve used staples.

plan b was to paint and varnish this sectioned display box then attach it to the tabletop. i painted and varnished, and was seconds away from attaching it when i suddenly decided i didn’t want to cover up the massively disasterful decoupage fiasco, because the remains look kind of cool, and peculiar in a way that fits the table’s personality.

i’d say the table is now in limbo. i’ve put it to use in my craft room as-is, but if i find just the right fabric i’ll be open to upholstering it, or i might mosaic it, or something. maybe i’ll dress it up for halloween.


Katherine said...

call me when you get up? I'd love to spend some time with you today/tomorrow/soon. I have a new blog, too. Just look under Melancholy Hammer on my profile.

JJ Beazley said...

Don't forget the slugs.

Emily said...

haha! we're having tea next sunday, maybe if i find a few good slugs before then they can join us.

be said...

that table is bizarre and amazing all at once! i read the whole thing to dean while he was gaming by me and we were both quite entertained:)