This series began during a time when my commute as a professional Stained Glass artisan was a lengthy schlep from Oakland to Santa Clara. Notoriously unpredictable, the Bay Area would leave me frequently in bumper to bumper traffic. Often bored, I would eye the discarded stuff that drifted into the median and along the shoulders of the highway while crawling along. During a particularly sluggish day, I noticed a rainbow of neatly bundled telecommunication wire in a triangle patch of the median where two freeways merged. I was doing mental gymnastics trying to figure out if I should stop to grab the mass. Instead I passed by for another couple of days before finally, after watching the heap turn from a neat bundle to a crushed and tangled mess, I pulled over to rescue it.
The next few weeks were spent meticulously untangling the wire mass (which took up several feet of floor space in my living room) and bundling the separated wires by color. Some were vibrant, others appeared to have sun fading, others wires looked slightly flattened. Sometimes a single wire could have all three features. Each had to be carefully pulled from the others, lest the quality of the plastic coating deteriorated further. A week’s worth evening’s spent sorting, I had many satisfying stacks.
While loving the colors, I wasn’t quite sure how to use the material. At that time, I was creating framed shapes from copper wire and into the centers I would crochet lace-like designs. It occurred to me that this type of framework could also be used for wrapping the wire. From this experimentation, the Color Bound series was realized.
Since landing on this method of use, I’ve gravitated towards sculptural and geometric forms highlighted by the bold colors. Combining materials, I crochet cords then dye in complementary colors and cap in silver, I’ll often include other detailed elements such as beaded tassels.
Each piece is made with one or more of the following materials:
- Heavy gauge copper or brass wire (the framework from which I build)
- Plastic coated telecommunication wire (rescued from the freeway shoulder and plastic content unknown)
- Cotton crochet thread primarily sourced from second-hand supply (thrifted, estate sales and antique) and hand dyed by me
- Sterling Silver
- Glass beads and/or precious stone beads. The small collection of glass beads was ‘borrowed’ from my mother - she purchased a small supply to make earrings and necklaces in the 80’s. I added to the collection precious stone beads in the early 2000’s when I started doing metals work.
Please note: Each of these materials have potential to change over time and exposure to the elements, perfume and regular wear. The telecommunication wires are sealed in an UV resistant acrylic coating to help prevent skin and oil contact with the copper - but anyone with copper sensitivities should be aware that it’s not 100% protection. Cotton cording can be gently hand washed with some shampoo to help return to some semblance of the original state. The sterling may tarnish - I kind of love this article for ways to polish.