The rake’s progress

October 24, 2013

In the waning days of 2012, I was shopping with a friend at the Depot for Creative Reuse, and found an old leaf rake head. I was very, very taken with the texture of the rust and weathered green paint and thought it would make a nice sconce…someday.

Fast forward to summer, when by ones and threes, I start to find bits and pieces that have a logical and/or aesthetic connection: a rusty bracket for a potted plant, some tile trowels (also rusty), a lovely old dented brass spray nozzle, a turned wood plaque with a couple of holes drilled through and a stripped-by-weather finish, and finally from my stash, a greenish X-shaped valve handle, a few screws and washers, and a heavy brass ball that was once part of a blender motor, as far as I can remember.

The engineering was pretty fun: figuring out how all this stuff would fit together solidly, what kind of switch would work best, how to hang it. But the real surprise came when I went to work on the surfaces before assembling it. After cleaning, a couple of shots of acrylic clear coat brought a richness to the old paint and rust I wouldn’t have thought possible. And the wood plaque, which I’d been thinking of as being merely functional – a thing to hold the lamp to the wall – came to life with just a little mineral oil. It’s now a rich, soft red-brown with a beautiful grain that makes a great backdrop for the other subtle colors.

I doubt these photos do justice to the shades and textures, but here they are.

I’ll be showing this piece at the Nov. 1 Oakland Art Murmur and my first show, at Rebooty, on Nov. 7. Details to follow.

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