Humble Hanger

As though her mother sensed it when she named her, my roommate Rose has a green thumb. The rooms of our apartment and the front porch of our house are lush with plants. In the snowy Boston winters when the city is blanketed in white, the shades of green and red warm our living room and remind us of an eventual Spring.

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This summer on our front porch there is a hanging plant. I Googled “hanging plants” and found a flowering plant that looks similar to the one on our porch. I learned they are called Geraniums.

What inspired me most about the plant was the wire basket in which it hangs. The basket is a simple design and within the basket is a brown straw nest, which holds the dirt below the flowering plant.  After enough Googling I learned these brown nests are called “coco liners”. The simple construction of the basket and the distinct coco liner made it the perfect object to miniaturize.  I’ve also been thinking a lot about installations. I wanted Rose’s hanging plant to be my first mini installation.

Without hesitation, I found some white coated wire and sat on my front porch under the hanging plant, trying to recreate the wire basket. I used string and super glue to tie the ring of shaped wire into a secured circular shape.

After I completed the basket out of wire, I decided the best way to imitate the coco liner was to use some of the coco liner itself.  I snipped a small piece of the nest off, then molded it into a nest inside the basket, glued everything into place, then trimmed the edges once it dried.

For the chains to hang the basket I consulted my box of old jewelry where I found my inspiration for the mini tea cups.  I chose the tiniest ball chain I could find and used other jewelry pieces to link these to the edge of the basket.  Everything was painted white to match the real basket.

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I made the flowers using the same method I used to make flowers for Mom’s Garden.  The red string, when frayed at one end, reveals a white interior, producing a two color flower using only one material.  I used a new method to attach the flowers to the stems. I slid the string over the wire like a sheath and super glued them together. I then attached two more strings to the sides of this string and created a budding flower on a single stem.

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For leaves I used my fake fern, which has come in handy in a previous mini, posing as lettuce.  I cut off the smallest fern leaves and spiraled them in my fingers then glued the spirals together.  This made a Geranium-looking leaf and left my finger tips covered in super glue.  I attached the leaves to the flower stems and made a few stems that were just made of leaves.

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To accompany the flower bask ose would need her trusty watering can.  A few weeks ago Rose had cleaned out a bathroom closet and I’d scavenged in the recycling when I spotted a small plastic bottle.  The label was in German and I guessed it to be eye solution.  Small plastic bottles are hard to come by and are valuable in my mining.  I can use part of a plastic bottle to create the desired rounded plastic shape that many objects in our big world call for.  It was perfectly appropriate that I had this bottle handy and decided to use it as the base for the watering can.

I carefully sliced up the bottle and saved each piece.  I reassembled the pieces to create the desired watering can shape.  Plastic is a tough material to use.  MMy strongest super glue won’t hold it in place; after ten minutes holding two edgest together while the glue tries, they easily pop apart and return to their natural shape.  In my canoe mini I discovered the method of sewing plastic.  This creates an initial hold that can’t be fought, and the super glue gives it a final stay-put.  I sewed together the plastic edges of the watering can, doused it with super glue, then gave it a handle, a spout, and a coat of paint to finish it off. The round tip of the spout is made from the very top piece of the Augenfrische bottle and the handle and spout are made from polymer clay. The water can is more delicate that I would like. I skipped the step of cooking the polymer clay, thinking it would be easier and have a more precise look if I coated the wet clay with super glue.  Next time, to assure the longevity of the watering can, I would cook the clay first.

For the final assembly, I filled the bottom of the coco liner with clay, followed by glue, followed by dirt, and arranged the flowers and leaves in the basket.

A quick lesson in installations came following my installation of the mini on our front porch.  I wanted to install the mini on the front porch and present it to Rose among the contrast of the larger plants.  However, living in Boston, rain was inevitable and the mini wouldn’t be safe installed, even with the small coverage of the railing.  So I presented it to Rose as planned, then realized we’d need to find a permanent place for installation, indoors.

Rose suggested the perfect hanging location on our kitchen window sill.  Because I didn’t want to detract from the full detail of the mini, I took another couple weeks to design the perfect hanger for the mini.  I used wire, super glue, and paint to build the hanger, then found mini screws and a mini screwdriver to install the hanger in its place in our kitchen window.