I have a small collection of strange objects that have lived in my studio for years, and tonight I gathered several of them up and drew them. I've never before studied them so carefully> The first on the right hand side of this page, is a piece of a piano-- the felt hammer that strikes a string, plus some of the components that connect it to the key.
On the left, a very light, papery seed pod with sharp spines. I found it several years ago when it was still green and part of a vine climbing on a chicken coop in my son's neighbor's yard in New Hampshire. No one knew what kind of vine it was. The seeds have long since fallen out. At the bottom is a part of a skeleton that I picked up along a Lake Michigan beach near South Haven, Michigan. It has a thigh bone (I think) still hinged to the flat plate part. I am guessing it may be part of a seagull skeleton. And on the right, a little glass oil lamp that still has a new wick in it. I have always assumed it came from an old science lab, a kind of proto-bunsen burner. It isn't at all decorative. The part where the wick comes out of the jar is made of cork.
The diagramatic drawing across the top is of an old scale that can measure weight up to 5 lbs. I found it in the printmaking studio at the college where I used to teach. No one could tell me where it had come from or what it was used for. It's all metal with numbers painted in red on one side of the barrel. Below it on the left was the most puzzling of all to me. I was playing with it tonight before drawing it, and my engineer husband came into the room. He told me this object is a governor, something that opens and closes valves based on steam pressure. When you spin it by holding the bottom handle-like part, the two metal balls life, which compresses the spring and causes the handle part to retract.
To balance out all of those scientific things I finished off by drawing a fluffy, soft tassel that I picked up in an upholstery shop in Florence a few years ago.