About 4 weeks ago I came across a contest I couldn't resist: a call for participants to give a piece of chain-link fencing new life. I had never worked with chain-linked fencing before and I was inspired by the challenge to alter the fencing into something that reflects me.
I started with a piece of old fencing from my father-in-law's shop yard, and after trying a couple of test cuts to make sure I could manage it, I decided to jump in and have a little fun with this opportunity!
From the beginning I went with a spider/web theme (originally tossing around a "spiderlings for peace" idea). I was going to hand weave a web, but wanted to incorporate more found "junk" into the piece, so using an old barbeque grill as the foundation for the web was the perfect start for marking my cuts. The cutting was the easy part. Bending chain-link wire is a whole other beast! Like I said, I'd never worked with it before, so had no idea what I was in for...including its desire to unravel once you "twist out" a couple of links. Good thing I was working on a 4' x 4' sized piece.
I hand work all my pieces which meant bending and straightening the chain link was difficult, but not impossible to muscle your way through. In fact I kind of got things down to a rhythm of 3 bends per link-bend in order to straightened each wire out. I earned a few blisters and soreness in the arms. Weaving it back through the fencing was the trickiest part and more time-consuming at first. I quickly found that any short cuts, like weaving the wire before straightening, only made things worse. So the steps involved cutting from the center of the "web," pulling back/unraveling a couple links, straightening the wire and then weaving back through the intact fencing to hold my barbeque web in place.
I could have made things alot easier by simply cutting the fence wire and short-wiring the barbeque in where it met the fencing, but I liked the design of keeping the wire arms woven back through. It was an important detail I wanted to keep.
Once this stage was completed I really had some fun creating 8 beautiful crystal-bodied spiders to place in and around the web/fence. My exaggerated spiderlings. I added webby strands of new wire and small tear drop crystals to the grill to enhance the web. I thought the contrast of the rusty fencing and found grill would look great with the chandelier spiders. Once I attached my spiderlings, I didn't like it...too cluttered. It looked like I just attached pretty crystals to the fence. Off they came, except for the center, clear spider. I liked her there, she stayed.
Once I removed the other spiders, the web popped. The center spider looked good too, but the added wire strands were competing with her legs, making her disappear, so I removed those as well. Now she popped right out too!
I felt like I was balancing between too much and too little. I really had to step away from the piece a couple of nights to keep an editing eye. At least to keep tuned in to my instincts about it, there were differing opinions in the house! LOL
Anything I added to the fence seemed to clutter things up for me. I wanted something that would be a little surprise for anyone who took time to check it out closely, by adding something to the web. "Dead insects" cluttered it up again, a peace sign seemed too comfortable (I do a lot of peace signs in other things). Then the flash of Charlotte's web "some pig" came to me and I went with "create" in my spider's web.
I felt it could stand alone at that point. But, I wanted to make it special. I decided to see what it would look like to add something along the side to carry the message of "create..." a little further...and I loved it!
I'll share those pictures with you, along with the final piece, in the next post ;)