Sunday, October 6, 2013

EDM 114 - Something Ugly You Keep for Sentimental Reasons

When prompted to draw something that we keep even though it's ugly, I was stumped. I have boldly proclaimed myself as someone who sees beauty in the common, so I think everything we have, no matter how humble, is beautiful somehow. There are, of course, plenty of things in my home that are purely useful, but there is a beauty in usefulness. So, I was stumped by "ugly." I just didn't want to admit that we've been keeping anything ugly in our home.

Then, I remembered the old-ugly box; the box I keep out of sight; the box I try to forget we have. It is an extremely old, octagonal, lidded, crudely constructed (I could go on and on) box that my husband brought home from a friend's moving sale many years ago. We have no idea what it is or what it was used for, but we keep it because it's obviously very old. It's in sorry shape. Many of its seams are popping, and some of its rivets are missing. The lid is warped and sits cockeyed. The wood is cracked and rough. It has no latch or evidence of ever having had one, so I don't think it held anything precious. I suspect it was the ordinary breadbox of its day. We're guessing it's from the 1800s or earlier. If the Antiques Roadshow ever rolls through our town, I might take our old-ugly box, just so they can tell me what it is.

If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then it stands to reason that "ugly" is, too. Ever since the moment I first beheld this old, wooden box, I deemed it ugly. Maybe I should start using it, instead of hiding it behind furniture, because there is a beauty in usefulness. Am I repeating myself?

Why do we keep the old-ugly box? Well, if the grand collective of old things ever needs a protector and caretaker, my husband would gladly apply for the job. In his mind, something that has survived many decades of use and abuse should never be discarded carelessly. It's an aspect of his character that I find very charming. He is loyal to a fault, and very old things need never fear for their lives around him! :) He rescued the old-ugly box from certain doom, and we are keeping it for good...for ever...for now...until the Roadshow tells us it's worth thousands of dollars.

Since I am pretty sure they were using dip pens when this box was first made, I decided to draw it using dip pens and calligraphy ink. I drew the letters first, and because I'm very impatient, I ran my hand through the still-wet ink while I was drawing the box. I had to make the mistake look intentional, so I pressed my finger into the ink and stamped the image all around. I kind of like the effect, like letter ghosts. (I wonder how long it will take for the blue ink to wear off of my fingers). My calligraphy ink is not waterproof, so I could not hit this with any paint. I think it's a fairly strong line drawing...and you probably think this is a really long post about an old, ugly box.
EDM 114 - Ugly but Kept; 3x3" watercolor

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