Monday, December 03, 2007

Wall Ornamentation

My famous Niece from Memphis and my daughter-in-law are both about the same age -- mid-Boomer. And, like Boomers, they're inclined to assert themselves. For example, both have made wall installations of found objects in my house. Above, the cat masque I made for Mom's cat's pyjamas costume a few Halloweens ago. The DIL felt it belonged on the wall in the kitchen. There it has remained since.

This year, the NFM was rummaging around in the basement where my late husband kept his lab and workshop. She found this very large caliper, which she immediately fell in love with. A hammer, a nail and there it is, a feature in the book-lined hallway.

All of which reminds me that last June, I posted pictures of another set of wall ornamentation -- the faces found on the outside of the St. Michael's hotel up near the roof line. At that time, I speculated that the ornaments had a rather European peasant look and that possibly they had been ordered out of a catalog from back East. The local gossip had it that they were caricatures of local businessmen. A prominent local historian said that there was no information, really, about the "sculpts". I have since come across another version of their genesis. This, by Jim Neal, then adjunct curator of geology at the Sharlot Hall Museum: The gargoyle faces around the top of the hotel are made of the same tuff as the trim, here sculpted as "the horribles", depicting local business people of that era who dressed up in frightening Fourth of July costumes. When viewed up close, one can see that the relief on the sculptures is coarse, in contrast to much smoother figures had they been cast in masonry. This tuff, Neal says, was likely from the tuff quarry along the Skull Valley Wash near Kirkland. I found the statement in an interesting booklet about the geology of Prescott, prepared by a group of local geologists for Earth Science Week, 1999.

9 comments:

CresceNet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lucy said...

Hmm, I should do away with crescenet if I were you!

Those callipers are a very splendid object, did she lacquer them?

Lane said...

NFM here...My favorite caliper in the WORLD! It still looks great on the wall. Oh, I did not lacquer it at all, it is a brushed steel looking material...maybe brushed steel!It was in good shape... perfect for measuring big pumpkins, or Santa's belly, maybe!

Steve said...

GJ, thanks for the updates on the St Martin faces. Interesting.

sheoflittlebrain said...

I remember a picture of your Mom in the cat mask..it lookd very cool on the wall.
Interesting update on the St. M. faces..

sheoflittlebrain said...

looks;)

Granny J said...

lucy -- re: crescenet, done. However, Im still wondering why a spam from Brazil, in Portugese, on my blog -- surely they don't expect to sell replica watches (or those pills) that way!

NFM -- what gives -- do you have a Google Alert going to catch just the moment that I refer to you? You note that I haven't taken the calipers down...

steve -- any other intel I get on those faces will be posted, of course.

brain -- that particular booklet included a walk around The Square from a geological perspective, explaining where the stones for the various buildings probably originated. Apparently there was also a small tuff deposit "about a mile north of Prescott" that was completely quarried out.

meggie said...

Huge callipers!
I am not so sure about the mask!

Granny J said...

meggie -- aren't they just neat?

 
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