Friday, November 5, 2010

101 Uses for a Dead Vuvuzela

One of my favorite books as a young man was Simon Bondʼs ʻ101 uses for a Dead Catʼ. First published in 1981, it sold over 2 million copies in 20 countries. The collection of macabre cartoons give suggestions to a question that plagued humans for centuries: ʻWhat do you do with a dead cat?ʼ It depicted bodies of cats being used for various purposes, like doormats or pencil sharpeners.

With the advent of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, South Africaʼs contribution to the headlines was an annoying plastic trumpet, the Vuvuzela, that could wake the dead. Most people, like myself, immediately thought of a way to recycle the plaguing little souvenir by threatening to bury it in a very undesirable place. The only question was should it go in thin side first, thick side first, or sideways.

Forgotten by most by now, the Vuvuzela has found found its final resting place in bargain bins in souvenir shops, covered in dust between other memorabilia, or for the more eco-conscious citizens, dutifully deposited in a recycling bin.

A strange quirk of mine to try find the good in anything bad, my Vuvuzela ended up in my studio. The pleasing curve of the design translates well into elegantly shaped necks for classical vases. Textured slabs of clay are pressed into basic shaped casting moulds, trimmings of clay are pressed into classically inspired sprigmoulds which are used for feet and extra embellishments. The Vuvuzela is then covered with dampened strips of newsprint (as the wet clay would adhere to plastic) and torn strips of clay is then formed around it. Once the piece reached the desired hardness, the Vuvuzela is removed, pieces are assembled into an elegant vase. The final piece is then treated by decorating it in the same manner as my current body of work. As themes change, so will the decoration, evolving the look continuously.

The classically inspired end piece will be enjoyed by the new owner with a totally new emotion, not even remotely associated with that annoying piece of history

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