Sunday, May 15, 2011

DIY leg lamp: you'll need plaster of paris, someone handy, and at least two bottles of red wine.

We did it, Jerz and I.

Faced with the challenge of creating a submission for a rollergirl fundraiser, everyone was making boobcasts and framing photos and painting these incredible works of art. My art skills are limited to coloring inside the lines. Barely. I color like a drunken sailor. I entered a coloring contest as a kid, where we were supposed to color in an outline of a Cabbage Patch doll printed in the local paper, and my mother told me my submission looked like she had the measles. I can't shade, I can't sketch, my figures all have stick hands and no necks and weird hair.

I am not artistic.

So when I heard all of this talk of boob casting I thought "Hey! I could do that!" Except when I lay down on my back my boobs are in my armpits, and when I stand up they hang down past my ribcage.

I was delusional, thinking that anyone would ever pay for a cast of these.
I am the reason they invented bras.
I went from a 38J (I'll give you a minute to get your head around that figure) to a 36A when I stopped breastfeeding - no surgery required.

These babies are all natural, and it shows.

So I sat around, trying to figure out if there was a body part I could cast that would be slightly less off-putting. Something people wouldn't mind having around the house. Something that could also be utilitarian, because I do like to be useful.

And then, I had an epiphany.

My husband is more of a leg man. (Thank god, right? Because if he was a boob guy this story would have a very different ending, clearly.) And my legs didn't gain 80 pounds when I got pregnant. They are in much better condition then the rest of me.
Especially when I remember to shave them.
Which isn't often.
Because I am lazy.
And they are quite long.
Which is nice. And which also brings me back to my epiphany.

Legs. As art. Useful art.
Enter: The Leg Lamp.
"AHA!" I thought to myself. "LEGLAMP. I will cast my leg and make a lamp."

And then, I told Jerz what I wanted to do and she said "A LEG IN A ROLLERSKATE!"

"OH MY GAWD!" I was beside myself. This was just getting better and better. And then Jerz dropped the bombshell:


Turns out she had a pair of old school skates that some kids had found in the jungle (don't ask how - this is Maui and trust me, you find weirder stuff than that in the jungle. Like a double decker tour bus. But that is a story for another time.)

So we set about making a set of leg lamps, in rollerskates.

There were a lot of details to attend to:
-cord switch, or pull chain? (pull chain - much classier)
-fishnets or sheer? (fishnets - torn for that authentic derby touch)
-fringe or no fringe? (no fringe - this is supposed to be classy, remember?)
-black lampshade or red lampshade? (red, because they had a matching pair at Ross)
-tattoos? (duh. Sailor on one leg, hula girl on the other.)
And we had to come up with a name for our entries - what would we call these amazing works of art?

Thelma and Louise
(with apologies to Geena Davis, Susan Sarandon and my aunt's cats.)

But first, we had to make the leg cast. This was a process that took the better half of an evening, so I invited the girls over for a dinner/casting party. The casting itself was arduous, mainly because we had gotten the partying out of the way before we began the art project. By the time my leg was wrapped in plaster of paris, I was ready for a nap. And as I stood there waiting for it to harden, watching Jerz get her leg wrapped in casting, I realized that:
1. plaster shrinks as it hardens, and
2. it was hardening really fucking quick, and
3. claustrophobia has many different triggers. One of which, apparently, is having your leg wrapped in casting material.

Who knew.

So I had what amounted to a nervous breakdown, and as my panic elevated, so did my blood pressure. And as the plaster swelled and hardened, the wrap was suddenly hard as a rock and 1/2 an inch thick, and my leg was forming a muffin top, spilling out of the cast.

And we couldn't get it off.

We tried scissors. We tried kitchen shears. We tried knives.
And he arrived home with both kids and a video camera. My panic was caught on tape as Max zoomed in on the extrication process. Jerz had her cast cut off first, as I glumly looked on, my fate already sealed inside rock hard plaster. Her cast was still wet and had some give, so I insisted that they get hers off "while they still had a chance". Because at this point I was getting quite dramatic, and making noises about having to go to the emergency room to get the damn thing cut off.

After Jerz had been freed - and let me tell you, we hooted like she had been trapped in a damn COAL MINE when that cast came off - they turned their attention to getting me out. There is an 11 minute and 43 second video of me hyperventilating and trying not to cry as my husband worked feverishy away, clipping and sawing and wedging and twisting and pulling this cast, front to back, side to side, inch by fucking inch. And finally, it came free and I flexed my knee and examined the bruise on the back of my leg, and swore to anyone who would listen that I was never going to cast anything ever again.


And so, dramatic rescue completed, we returned our focus to creating the most fabulous art project ever conceived. This went on for weeks. Hours and hours and hours of working away, sanding and shaping and painting and sketching and outlining. At one point, Lucy dropped one of the legs and I have to admit, I lost it. If only because the thought of having to recast my leg was so upsetting. Sami spent two days on them, getting each leg perfectly smooth (and quite frankly, enjoying himself a bit to much). He spent a good hour rubbing each one gently with sand paper, top to bottom, then filling them with chicken wire and spray foam, and finally fitting them in the skates.
They were painted, wired, tattooed, fishnetted, and ready to go the night before they were due:
(photo courtesy of Greek - thanks sweetie!)

In this photo, Thelma is on the left (and is actually the right leg) and Louise is on the right (the left leg).
As you can see, they make a perfect set, and so would be perfect as end lamps. They are also available seperately, though I cannot imagine how one would choose. And Sadly, they do not come with a '66 Thunderbird, or a youthful (and naked) Brad Pitt.
How unfortunate.


Elly said...

Haha, good job hey! Glad to see the finished product came out wonderfully in the end :)

Jacinda said...

Oh. My. God. Love, love, love!!!