by Melissa Kolstad

Author’s note:  This is the third in a series of posts about “The Detritus Project”, an interactive library art work that I’m creating in conjunction with the Fond du Lac Public Library in Fond du Lac, WI.  For Part 1, click here. For Part 2, click here.

Photo by Brian Kolstad.

When I last wrote, I had just divided my piles of library findings into two (rather boring) piles – one for due-date slips and the other for everything else.  Why?

Well, I got to thinking about a clock I did about a month ago and thought I’d try it again with this project.

For the face, I took various handmade papers and ephemera and tore it into tiny pieces.  I laid out my design first, and then transferred it to fusible webbing (some folks may know “fusible webbing” as Stitch Witchery or Heat n’ Bond).  Essentially, it’s a man-made product that melts when heat, such as an iron, is applied.

I wanted to use the webbing for this clock instead of my normal adhesives so that it would create a sort of “fabric” with which I could embroider.  It worked beautifully!  When the paper and webbing bonded, it made a lovely substrate for the center flower, which I created using a rubber stamp.  I just back-stitched right over the stamping!

So if the fusible webbing worked for the clock, I thought it would be perfect to adhere the due date slips, which would serve as the background for an embroidered design on the top.

Okay!  I’ve got my slips the way I want them, and the iron is hot.  Here goes: *Cue the dramatic soap opera music*

EEP!!!  ACK!!!  BLURG!!

Well.  That didn’t go as expected!  I should’ve known by their feel that the due dates slips are printed on thermal paper.  “Thermal”, as in, “prints with heat”.  DRAT! (On the plus side, this opens up a million possibilities for other projects!)

Alright, so now I know that heat (of any kind!) won’t work with this project.  No worries, I’ll just glue the due date slips to the fusible webbing instead, which will still make a perfectly good “fabric” backing for my idea.

*Cue the aforementioned dramatic soap opera music*

What the WHAT?  When the glue dried, it left me with nothing.  NOTHING!

(Here’s the part where Mel clenches her fists and asks, “WHY?”)

“Will our protagonist ever find the answers she seeks?  Will she throw in the towel, or will she think of another way to achieve the results she’s after?  Tune in on April 24 to find out!”

Documenting the Detritus Project is a guest blog series written by a dear friend of the Library as Incubator Project, Melissa Kolstad. Melissa is a collagist/ephemeralist who works in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She is a member of the Fond du Lac Visual Arts collective, which has a close partnership with the Fond du Lac Public Library. The Detritus Project is a new project that Mel is working on, which seeks to document and examine what people leave – parts of their everyday lives and activities – when they return library books. Mel will document her progress on the Detritus Project twice a month until June.

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