You can see the size of it. It’s quite large for what it is.
Some of the porcelain things I make are small, well they would be – they are dolls’ house miniatures. However out of those some are really small. The 24th scale ornaments for example are small enough to get stuck up your fingernail.
Items of this nature cause problems with display. Exhibitors have an interesting range of solutions. Some who have a very good opinion of themselves are prone to big glass enclosed cabinets and ‘Do Not Touch’ notices. Some just display one sample fastened down and have the rest in boxes under the table. Bettina who used to exhibit with me showing her tiny crocheted animals, had them all pinned to her velvet covered foam steps.
I have always enjoyed the kind of display that has the lot out. Everything. So you can choose. But when they are tiny light things there is always a danger that visitors bending close, may inhale the exhibits. This could cause further problems for St John’s ambulance (usually in attendance) and the exhibitor’s insurers (at one point I was insured to pierce your ears with a nail while you sat on a deck chair in the street. I never actually tried this but, with the right nail, could have ended up a millionaire on a really busy thoroughfare.) The inhaling visitor may have not come out of the encounter well either and I almost certainly could not have resold the inhaled, retrieved item. Snot possible.
So my solution was good old double sided sticky tape on plastic steps designed to put in a cupboard so you can see the tins at the back. I lined the steps with strips of tape, transported them with waxed strips on top and, upon arrival, took the ornaments out of their boxes and placed them on the steps. It worked. The visitors could choose, the ornaments stayed on the steps and everyone enjoyed picking off their choice with plastic tweezers. Brilliant.
Well brilliant for several shows then a problem evidenced itself. Sticky tape is sticky for ornaments but also for tiny price labels, dust, lumps of fluff, hairs, sneezes, dirt. Gradually the white plastic steps turned grey with undertones of something quite nasty.
I thought I would just peel off the sticky tape and put on some new stuff. That is what I thought. The trouble with double sided sticky tape is that the underside, which is stuck down, is as sticky as the upper side which is coated with gunk. You cannot just get your fingernail under the end and rip if off unless it is your fingernail you wish to rip.
Eventually I resorted to a chisel.
This method very effectively chopped tiny triangular pieces out of the plastic. The sticky tape was left largely untouched.
Minute fragments were rolled along by the chisel until they reached a stickier area to which they attached themselves immovably, like a crowd on a rainy day out finding a cheap cafe. Look, you can see what rubbish this method is. The ball is the result of an hour and a bit, chiselling.
You can see the filth. In the end I sacrificed the rest of my fingernails having previously tried a pin, scissors, a scalpel, a spoon handle and anything else. After nearly three hours of my life picking off the sticky I had put there, I washed the shelves and dried them and then, when they were shiny white and clean, I stuck fresh sticky on for the next show.
Is the ball of sticky stuff I generated.
Visitors to shows sometimes tell me what a wonderful life I must have, endlessly creative. It is, it’s fab. There are people who are employed, as a proper paid job, to get the chewing gum off pavements. Whilst I have every admiration for them I would not necessarily shake them by the hand. Well, not when they were at work.