Autoharp, 02.02.13

Scrap art | 25X31″ | Auctioned March 22, sold for $600

This assemblage will be donated to the “Instruments of Art” exhibit and silent auction which will take place Friday, March 22. It’s part of the Sea Level Festival, sponsored by Tidewater Arts Outreach. You can find out more info here:

The rules for artists entering the exhibit are pretty simple – you have to make something out of a musical instrument of your choice. In this case, a child’s autoharp that I found at Country Boy Antiques in Norfolk. It was in rough shape. The wooden lid was falling apart and it wasn’t really functional, but I loved the way it looked – worn blue and black paint, incongruous typewriter keys that pressed over the frets, creating comically off-key notes when strummed.

I love this assignment (this is my second year participating) because it benefits TAO, which arranges for live musical performances for lots of folks who are sick or in institutions and can’t get out to hear it. And music is a universal healer.

So, this autoharp has a lot of sweet memories in it, for someone out there… I mounted it on a ceiling tin that I snipped into a guy’s silhouette, and made an angel, a parrot and a sax player out of donated dug relics and various found junk. The dude’s eye is a jackknife fragment.

It’s wired and ready to hang – and strum!

Here’s the piece I made for last year’s auction, Woody, the classically trained banjo player: