This is a wreath I made for my stepmother for Christmas. She is an amazing woman who has spent her life helping immigrants adjust and succeed: learning English, finding work, accessing health care and schools, avoiding the many scams directed at new Americans. She is inspirational.
She also gave me some old Christmas ornaments for my art stash a few years ago. The colors were dull and the glaze cracked, but not in a fun way. I was going to bead covers for them and give them back as a surprise but never got to it. They leapt out when I was unpacking after a move and reproached me for my flakiness. I had to act (and I will use any excuse to avoid unpacking).
The color glaze on the outside soaked off in isopropyl alcohol (cheaper than denatured and not as stinky). To accentuate the wear on the inner silver coating, I added sand to the alcohol and swished it around randomly for a few minutes with my thumb over the opening (I don't recommend doing this, as the rim is sharp. I like living dangerously.).
The origami flowers are known as carambola, or tropical star fruit. They are the amazing work of origami genius Carmen Sprung. I learned to fold them from this video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87F2oJamoKc
The audio is in German, but the video is so clear and well done that you don't need to speak it.
The paper is cut from various newspapers, mostly from the Los Angeles area. There is Cantonese, Russian, Hebrew, Korean, Urdu, Arabic and Japanese. I like to look through them and see which stories I recognize from English language media, the kinds of products advertised, the puzzles and photos. It is also fun to see what words appear in Roman script: One of the Russian flowers has a story of dense Cyrillic, interrupted every few paragraphs by "PriceWaterhouseCoop
ers". An economics story? Employment? A finance scam? Dunno. The scripts are beautiful art by themselves, and they seemed an appropriate way to honor a person who has devoted her life to helping people understand each other across cultures and languages.
Carambola centers are pretty delicate, so I reinforced them with sew-on snaps to keep the wires from tearing through. (Even so I blew out a few, but the glue gun is my friend.) Each wire is bent into a tight U shape with the radius of the inside rim of the snap. This arc is then bent at 90 degrees so it lays flat; going over the top of the nipple will result in wobbling. Insert the wire in the top half of the snap and snug it down with the bent U in place, poke holes in the flower center of the same distance as the U, thread the wire through very gently and add the bottom half of the snap. I tried snapping first and then threading the wire but it was too difficult to line up the holes. Pinching the wire under the snap steadies it. The wires are longer than they need to be because I had originally planned it as a wall hanging, then found the ornaments and a steel hoop diverted from a chandelier project, and the project morphed as these things do.
The wreath is pretty self-explanatory: I took the hoop and wove on a bunch of heavyish floral wire, including a hang loop at the top. I tried to make it look like tendrils.
Then I just twined the origami and ornaments on this base and tried to make it pretty.
Voila! I hope she likes it.