The solution came to me in a quiet moment of reflection, after I decided to let go. I struggled more with completing the construction of my memorial crane mobile than I did with any other part of this project. Having to cut and re-cut the paper for the Yatsuhashi, or Circle of Eight, as I’ve come to call it, was nothing in comparison. I understood it. It was part of crafting. Just like the bead selection. It was part of the fun, part of the process of creating the gift. A gift for me, a gift for Marianne. I expected it. I thought it was part of the grieving, like choosing the quotes to put on the cranes. I was wrong.
My inability to get the mobile frame even–that was part of the grieving. There were tears of frustration. Tears of self-recrimination for my unwillingness, my inability, to accept my inexperience and the lopsided construction. Tears of confusion. Tears of grief. I didn’t stop and bawl. Oh, I wanted to. I wanted to have a good cry, the kind you really sink your teeth into. You know, like when you were 9 and your ice cream fell off the cone? A world-coming-to-an-end cry. But, I’m grown up, and I don’t remember how anymore. I struggled. I snapped. I yelled. I leaked.
The original frame was a 10″ metal ring–a single ring to lend support to the cranes, and then the fishing wire was supposed to come together on a split ring, from which the crane is to hang. What are those rings used for otherwise? Maybe making wreaths? I don’t know. If so, why aren’t they near the silk plants? I found them near magnets and easel frames and doilies, an inexplicable combination of supplies, grouped together like a blended family who knows why they belong together, even if you can’t see physical resemblances.
This is exactly where my project broke down the first time I tried it. It was hanging in our very large coat closet (do I miss that closet, or what?), waiting for me to figure out how to finish it. Then the movers came. It never occured to me anyone would actually pack it without consulting me. But he was young, and eager, and he did. That’s how it broke. It’s been, what, four years since then, I haven’t had the heart to try again? So now, M would be 45, and I wanted to have it ready for the milestone she never reached. And so, yeah, the tears of recrimination were b/c I had procrastinated starting the project and her birthday came without a completed mobile to mark the occasion. Confession: I wanted to stitch. Just like I do now. I miss it. I want to stitch. More frustrated tears.
At any rate, 10″ was too wide for me to handle alone. There’s nowhere in my home that’s suited for working on a hanging project. I’ve tried a few places, each with their limitations. This go around, when I tried only the 10″ ring, it came out slightly lopsided. Because I had used glue as a set of extra hands, I couldn’t easily adjust the lopsidedness. I wanted to be done–the ‘deadline’ of M’s birthday was past, the project was taking much longer than I expected, and I wanted to be able to simply look at it. I tried to balance it using a AA battery. I stuck it to the metal ring with magnets. It would have been fine, actually, except the battery was too big to be hidden. Now. I knew that I was going to render the battery useless by attaching magnets to it. What I didn’t know, and I wish I’d photographed, was that while my lopsided mobile waited for our return from Hershey, PA, the magnets were working their wonders on the battery. When we returned, I discovered that the label had been forced off the battery at the seam. I wonder if the entire label would have come off if I’d left it alone indefinitely? I think I might be lucky there were no sparks, or a fire to really destroy the mobile.
I couldn’t stand it being uneven and decided I’d have to restring the cranes. I decided that since the 10″ ring was too large, if I used a smaller ring, too, say 5″, it would be easier to handle the fishing wire, and to get the frame even. I was sort of right.
Go ahead and laugh. What else are you going to do? The 10″ ring is basically level now, an improvement over the first try. I can’t explain the lopsided 5″ ring. But yes, I cried when I saw it and it was impossible to straighten out. Because, like, glue is my friend, remember? Not my best friend, obviously.
I figured I was stuck with it. I don’t get it, can’t make it work. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It really doesn’t. It’s going in my bedroom, so only a very few people will ever see it. It was always more about the making than the finished product. I accepted the imperfection, I went to bed.
And then—this morning, in a quiet moment of philosophical acceptance, I thought that if I were ever to make a mobile like this again, it would be ever so much easier to make the ‘frame’ part first, and then attach the cranes to it. I was so stuck on the notion that the mobile needed to be strung with continuous lines of fishing wire, it didn’t occur to me, even after discovering glue is my friend, that it could come together in two parts. DUH!
So, yes. I’m going to try again. Good thing that came of this: I think the 10″ ring is too wide a diameter. It makes the mobile look like a long column, and completely hides the fact that the Circle of Eight are connected (pointed out to me by the husband). I’m going to try 8″ diameter, and 5″ diameter. I suppose I could use a single ring, now I’m doing it in two parts, but I think the second ring was a good idea, so I’m keeping it.
I’ll finish this thing some day. I hope. I really do miss stitching.