This is my latest addition to the house. Our house. Our gallery, showroom, sanctuary, fortress . . . It’s where I gave myself permission to be an artist. I had to do things myself—to save money—because at the time, I was broke (and kinda broken). I’ve always known I was more creative than pragmatic, but putting it out there, whatever “it” is requires a certain vulnerability that I didn’t want to take a chance on expressing. I’ve since learned that suppression of the creative is not good for human beings, and the willingness to be vulnerable is what taught me that taking a risk is a good thing. The first one is always the hardest.
Since I decided to be me, it’s pretty hard to see a wall or piece of crummy furniture or junky floor or perfectly good merchandise that might be the wrong color and not think of a way to make it better. I don’t know why washers suggested themselves to me on this bathroom wall, but they did. So began my hunt for washers. I teach research, so I can usually find anything I want Online, and this time was no different. I strive to spend as little as possible on materials for my projects, so I decided new washers at a big box store, which would have cost four or five hundred dollars (plus Liquid Nails . . . I went through five tubes at 5 bucks a pop) was too much. I finally found 600 2” washers on Ebay for under $200. Of course, I didn’t do the math or calculate how many I’d actually need for the wall, or if I’d get to the end and only have an inch of space—I’m an artist, not a mathematician—so I winged it.
While waiting for my washers to arrive—I cannot tell you how much the box weighed, but it was HEAVY—I scrounged around the house and garage, to come up with the smaller ones, and joyously embarked. I decided to post photos on Facebook during the process, to see how my friends would react. The most frequent question was, “How are you going to keep those things from rusting and bleeding down the wall, when you shower?” As much as I would love the idea of such a thing—Patrick even threatens to rust them himself, with a technique he has perfected—I reminded people that a) the washers are stainless steel--not supposed to rust--and b) the area I did is only a bathtub. No shower. No water hitting the wall.
I wondered if the humidity from the bathroom (there is a shower on the other side of the wall) might have some impact, but in the two months since I attached the last washer . . . no change.
I called the installation “Wash” because it’s made from washers, it surrounds an area where one washes, and bubbles in a bubble bath have a way of dispersing that reminds me of this.