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Wednesday, January 23, 2013


Poet and Lacan-Aficionado John Bloomberg-Rissman is thoughtful and always thinking of Moi.  To wit, he recently sent me this blog post by Lisa N. Guenther, "Reading Plato on Death Row."  The article discusses a discussion group at Nashville's Riverbend Maximum Security Prison involving prisoners on death row and philosophy graduate students. At one point, Guenther cites Foucault considering "the possibility of shaping one's existence through aesthetic practice."  Foucault is quoted from a 1982 interview as saying
This transformation of one’s self by one’s own knowledge is, I think, something rather close to the aesthetic experience. Why should a painter work if he is not transformed by his own painting?
From that question, Guenther discusses how many of the prisoners are or had become artists:
Everyone in prison is an artist, it seems.  They paint, they draw, they write poetry, they tattoo themselves and others.  When they don’t have access to standard art supplies, they become even more creative, using toilet paper or white bread to create papier-mache sculptures, or scraping the pigment from M&Ms or Skittles to use as paint.  Richard Odom, a participant in our discussion group, makes doll furniture out of discarded toilet paper rolls.  He says, “Society has flushed us down the toilet, but we can still make something beautiful with the leftovers.”
It is through this discussion that I was introduced to Richard Odom's work; here's a photo of colored chairs and footstools he created from toilet paper rolls:

Odom's chairs are also featured in an exhibition entitled "Prison Galleries: Imagining Justice from the Inside Out" at Vanderbilt University's Sarratt Gallery. Here's another image:

I don't know anything about Richard Odom, but am inspired by how he turned to the objects within his environment and, from such, created art.  I was discussing this all with The Poet With Chairs the other day while she visited my studio, uh, dining room

and we decided we'd try to replicate his chairs since there are toilet paper rolls in the house. However, after considering the images and a toilet paper roll, I realized that a "chair" would be smaller than my desired 1:6-ish scale.  So I decided, instead, to make a stool.  First, I did this:

In looking at the result, I decided to shape a small back to the stool mirroring the circular curve of the toilet paper roll.

What was now needed was the seating pad.  Well, La Poeta y Yo looked around to see what we could use and we decided to create an upholstered seat from cotton balls!

So here you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen and Trans, the global introduction of THE RICHARD ODOM STOOL!  (Technically, Richard Odom-Inspired but let's get poetically minimal and make that moniker more punchy, eh!)

Once another toilet paper roll in the house empties itself into cardboard, I might take said cardboard roll and create a small, curved, braided back (which would be more in fitting with Mr. Odom's design).  Meanwhile, here's another shot at it (since it is, after all, such a photogenic thingie):

Now, I didn't need to hear the hubby's art criticism of moi stool ("anti-Platonic") to know I'm no Gerard Dago Jové.  Mr. Jové brilliantly makes miniature chairs (see his blog (en Espanol) HERE and the section on him at Tom Giannini's MiniatureChairman (in English) HERE).  But since La Poeta Con Silla is happy, Moi am too!

"The Richard Odom stool," proclaims La Poeta (with some of her To-Read-Books ever in tow--ever like Moi!), "is ergonomically correct for my back!"

Thanks to John Bloomberg-Rissman for writing to us about these fascinating topics and introducing me as well to Richard Odom as Artist.  Y'all should go buy John's VERY SMART BOOK!  And don't forget Volume 2 to said SMART BOOK!  Too bad I can't miniaturize them for "Books on Chairs"!

[Scale:  3.5" Height, 3" seat circumference, 3" from seat to floor.]

1/30/2013 UPDATE!!!!

Well, I kept being bothered by the back of the stool I made.  I just felt the back should be "braided" to really be in keeping with Richard Odom's design.  So, once a toilet paper roll emptied itself in the house (hah), I proceeded on such:

I next lined the inner side of it with yellow Post-it paper because I like the color combination of brown and yellow, to offer a more finished look (insofar as one can "finish" this toilet paper roll stool),  and to offer a more "comfortable" side to the person who'd sit on the chair.

Then The Poet With Chairs tried it on for size.  It fit!

La Poeta is pleased, and she placed her own books on the stool for the moment ...

I hope you've enjoyed this update since Moi lives to please Toi.

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