4/9/10

Corks, quirks, and saving the world

In my escapist fantasies, I see myself living in a small cabin with a screened porch. The cabin interior is decorated in college town bar decor, but without the peanut shells on the floor. Every surface is covered with collected items--keys and license plates, especially, but also hardware, newspapers, vintage board games, maps, buttons. Tabletops and counters become an ever-changing collage of vintage sewing patterns, postage stamps, and magazine photos suspended between layers of clear polyurethane. The ceiling is hung with papier mache insects, wire sculpture lizards, origami, mobiles, Christmas ornaments and retro lamps. The floor is cushioned by mats made from thousands of donated wine corks.

My current abode has boxes, baskets, and jars full of wine corks (and no peanut shells). Friends and relatives have been saving corks for me for many years. Corks are useful for building art project palm trees on fantasy desert isles. Supply has exceeded demand in recent years, but I'll never turn down a bagful of corks. I appreciate the sacrifice that has gone into drinking the wine so artists can create.

Horror vacui is the abhorrence of empty space. Most art history students first learn about it when they study ancient Egyptian tombs in the Valley of the Kings. Tut and Nefertiti couldn't agree on wallpaper, so tombs are covered in wall-to-wall writings.

Tut was pondering large 3-D lotus sculptures entirely made of corks. Maybe Howard Carter should be my condo decorator. Tut. Stone. Silence. Inscriptions. Collections. Possessions. Overload. Alabaster canopic urns...

In my imagined abodes visual over-stimulation replaces excessive auditory noise. Since my sons have moved out, it is very quiet here. Quiet is good. In fact, I may have to track down George Prochnik's book, In Pursuit of Silence: Listening for Meaning in a World of Noise. I heard an NPR "Fresh Air" interview with the author. He said studies show people eat less when the volume level increases, but they drink more alcohol...

When I went a-googlin' for other cork uses, I found an artist who covered her car with corks. The Skylark could be transformed into a CorkMama-Mobile.

With enough hot glue and corks we could aspire to far greater good. We could build shelters for earthquake victims in Haiti. We could mulch our organic gardens. Huh? I saw it on Google, so it must be true.

1 comment:

Genevieve said...

You probably know that corks are made from the bark of the cork oak, a Mediterranean tree? The market for real cork has dwindled since the invention of plastic wine corks. Because of that, many cork plantations have been cleared and plowed, displacing all the birds, animals, and other lifeforms associated with the cork forests. So, yes, for the sake of the planet's ecosystems, use cork freely. It is, after all, a renewable resource.

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