Clawless, Clueless… Colour-blind?

In art school, I once threw a birthday party for myself with the theme “Bring something you find in the street.” Right away, we had to tell one guy to go put his thing back before someone had a car accident.

The next party, I wanted the theme to be “Bring something that you don’t know what it is.”

Unfortunately, everybody grew up before I had a next party.

This object reminds me of that party I never had, but I can tell you what it is. It’s a device I made for measuring the curve of the outside bottom of a clawfoot bathtub. First came the 2x4s, then the plywood to skim the slope of the sides, and then I drilled through the bottom 2×4 and inserted dowels that would move to the shape of the tub when I tapped the form into place. I drew the curve from the rough shape the dowels formed to make a template for the curve at the back of the tub, and did it again for the front of the tub near the drain.

You see, I started out clawless–the tub was clawless.

And I was clueless too, I suppose; you know, the way you are when you go to the scrapyard and impulse-buy a clawless clawfoot-bathtub (for global-warming backyard survival) and the guy sticks it in the back of your SUV with a forklift and you drive off… having not a clue how you’re going to get it out of the frickin’ car when you get home.

Anyway, turns out all it took was a half-price hand-truck, a board, and a friend who used to move a lot of heavy objects for Canadian Tire (and the fact he’s 6ft 6 doesn’t hurt) and that solved my first problem.

But the tub was still clawless.

I discovered there’s a lot more bathtubs rolling around out there than there are feet for them, and I was going to have to buy new cast-iron feet, which might not fit, for $600, and have to pay for shipping from California.

Eh… no, I decided–not after buying the tub for $100.

Hence my measuring device: a line version of those thingamabobs that look like they’re miniature beds of nails, that you can leave a hand-print in.

I made it, I know what it’s used for, but I still don’t know what it’s called.

I applied my templates to a halved cedar post, got out my mallet and chisel, and carved two cradles to set the tub on. My intent is to sit the cradles on a small cement pad, then continue to build around the tub to anchor the structure so only earthquakes might shake it from level.


Ah yes, that small cement pad. I only needed about a meter square, and 5 inches deep. I calculated how much cement I’d need:

Almost 300 pounds.

Just the thought of it makes me tired. I’m going to bed.

Good morning. Where was I? Oh yes. I built the form for the cement pad, sited it, laid my gravel, tied the re-bar, but then it rained all spring.

Finally, I got ready; I realized that my wheelbarrow bucket had a big hole in it where it was partially breaking off from the frame beneath, so I had to hot-glue it back together, and duct-tape it a few times.

This sounds like a cross between a situation comedy and a home improvement TV show.

Duct Tape. Oh my God, I’m Red Green.

Make that Scarlett… Scarlett the Executioner, the resurrection of a former identity once upon a time, at a medieval feast costume party at St. Peter’s Abbey, Muenster–only when I execute my projects, I don’t wear a hood.

With the help of a wonderful volunteer who pushed it all into place, bag by 25 kilo bag, I mixed 11 bags of concrete with a garden hoe in my poor failing wheelbarrow and poured the pad, then I asked my friend’s little dog to bless it with his paws.

I’m going on vacation. Stay tuned.

No. Get a life, but check back on the work in progress.

Perhaps this ends up being a a don’t do it yourself essay, but I suppose the whole act itself is an essay: an attempt, a test, or a multitude of tests to see if I can solve each new problem as it comes along.

But is it art?

Who cares?

And to think I used to do photo-realism in oils.

This entry was posted in Hammer and Nails, Just like Dad, Mixed Media, Revisionary Design, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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