Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Art - don't use!

The Festival of Thrift instructible posted a couple of weeks ago on this blog, with instructions for twining with sticks and string, might have left you wondering what the object could be used for? Is it art? Is it design? If the Festival of Thrift is about celebrating upcycling and sustainable living, what is the point of making something that doesn’t have a function, no matter how green or economical the use of materials for its production are?

Well, art does fulfil a very basic human need and if you’ve made something, if only to look at, that is functional enough for me. The picture above is something I spotted outside the Czech Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennial a few days ago which, with humour, highlights this issue.

However, to put your sustainable minds at ease, I’ve turned the modernist principle of 'form follows function' on its head, and thought of a few uses for the original instructible…

·      fill the twined construction with seeds and nuts and use it as a birdfeeder
·      alternatively use it as a cover for a fat ball by threading and suspending the ball inside the cone 
·      use an apple instead of the a fat ball (see bottom picture) to feed your feathery friends, or use a pompom from which birds might pull threads and use in their nests for added warmth and comfort (see instructions below)
·      with a larger twined construction, use it as a hanging basket for plants by lining the inside with fabric or paper
·      finally, how about using it as a lampshade, using a low voltage bulb to prevent any fire hazard

Pompom making (a speedy method)

Wrap several yarns around your fingers, slightly spread.

Bring fingers together to release the bundle from your hand. Wrap the yarn tightly at least twice around its middle before tying and cutting off the yarn, 10 inches / 25cms approximately from the bundle - you'll be using this length to attach the pompom to the twined cone.

Cut the threads on either side of the bundle.

Fluff up and trim off the longer bits to make the pompom more regular.

Et voila!  Job done once again! 

For additional sources of inspiration on making bird-feeders and/or hanging baskets, click here and here.

Apple feeders for birds, better still with sunflower seeds
pushed into the fruits - click here for more pictures.

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