Wednesday, August 26, 2009



The finished chair? NOT ON YOUR LIFE!

What may look like the finished lifeguard art chair is really a conglomeration of some of the ideas everyone gave me. This bizarre picture represents the state my mind was in trying to decide which idea to go with.

I must say, my contest was very tough: maybe not so hard for everyone else, but very difficult for me when it was time to select the winners. Many of the entry ideas overlapped. Several people suggested using similar painting schemes on the chair, many suggested using lifeguard equipment (as you might have expected), and several suggested using the chair as a planter. To make my decision even tougher, all the ideas I received were wonderful! But, I had to choose only three.

The idea that really spoke to me was from Beth Pollins. I’ve quoted her entry here because I think you’ll like reading the beautiful story she created.

“Hi Cheryl,

“Here is my idea. I thought about it for a bit and decided the chair stays where it is. First, I would stain it to appear as weathered wood, like a shipwecked ship, perhaps a bolt or two in it to make it appear ship-like. On the seat would be a lovely selkie* in human form with her legs drawn up and arms around them. She has long, long dark hair, huge soulful eyes, and a faraway expression on her face. She is made of clay.

"Over the side of the chair is her seal skin. Now this I am not sure about, but I thought you might use treated faux black leather or suede. I am not sure that would make it through a winter... have to think about that. There would be a clay sea gull, her friend, on the back of the chair.

“The next level, the top shelf, would be her human life treasures. Some shells she used as plates, a green bottle with a message in it (thrown into the sea by her lover when she left to return to the sea), a small antique-looking frame with her lover's picture in it, a silver mirror, a small ‘treasure chest’ box made from tin with some coins, some jewels (necklace, broach) or beads, a small book with pictures, a key. and some colored ribbon. None of this is valuable, except to her, it is priceless.

“Both shelves would have sand on the bottom. The bottom shelf would have items from her sea life. Some shells (clam and others) including a conch shell, a clay lobster, a crab, a sea horse, a fish, seaweed, and perhaps some sea glass and stones. Maybe a holey stone … I have read that a stone found from the sea on the beach with a hole in it, can be used to see the goddess by looking through the hole. At the bottom of the chair, on the ground, I would have a clay seal, her sister, who always watches over her.

“As far as the arms and legs of the chair, I would not embellish too much. I might put some shells on, and perhaps some small fish or starfish on the wood. I would put a bit of netting on the chair (a small bit), and at the bottom, I would put a piece of weathered wood with the name of the ship. Depending on how it looks I might nail it to one of the sides of the chair. Not sure what the ship would be named. It did sink to the bottom of the sea, but the selkie saved part of it and made it her sanctuary.

“Now as far as weather proofing goes, I am sure the clay would be fine. The wood, shells, and stones would, too. The seal skin is what I question. I was thinking of putting plexiglass sides on the shelves of the chair. That feels out of integrity with a selkie, but may be practical.


(* For those like me who didn’t know this, a selkie is a spirit in Scottish and Irish folklore that has the form of a seal but can assume human form. I hope my readers gain as much from my blog as I do learning from them! - Cheryl -)

With Beth’s suggestion, I have both a plan for what to do with the chair and a lovely mythical story to go with it. I absolutely love it! It will be difficult for me to implement Beth’s idea because my kiln is only 27 inches high and the selkie would have to be quite large to be in proportion to the chair’s seat. I will have to sculpt her and then cut and fire her in several pieces to be assembled afterward. All this said, I am going to give it a shot. I love the whole concept! Sooooooo…


You have the choice of taking the first place, second place, or third place prizes. Please e-mail me with your choice and your mailing address -- and thank you so much for the time and energy you put into developing your idea.

"Lily" water pond

Since I already have a large mannequin languishing next to my water pond, and since there is also a mermaid that sits above that pond, the idea of a male lifeguard dressed in an old-fashioned, turn-of-the-century striped swimsuit appealed to me, too. So,


Trish said:

“The chair should have a mirror, like the one you show located in your house called the fantasy art chair. It should have ‘beach rocks’ similar to B-dazle, your car, and on the glass shelves, there should be lifesaving equipment along with refreshments for the lifeguard and his friends. Then, of course, there must be a tall, dark, handsome lifelike MALE mannequin, perhaps in early 20th century swimsuit apparel. On cloudy days, a flag for the chair should be the family coat of arms. On sunny days, an umbrella of multicolors must be up.


“We must have at least one life preserver and some boat ropes draped around. (ropes that can be used to hold chair in place in case of winds, etc.)


Because of the high winds here, the idea of draping lots of boat ropes around the chair to hold it in place as well as to decorate it is particularly appealing.

Trish, I will let you know which prize Beth chooses and you will get the next choice. Thank you very much for this great suggestion.

My poor distorted mind

And, LAST BUT NOT LEAST … I really struggled with my third place winner. There were so many great suggestions, and yet only one more prize. I think I will give many smaller prizes for my next contest so everyone will win. Even though the third place idea is not very practical because it would be difficult to manage the plants in winter, I love the concept. It reminds me of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, with plants cascading from level to level to level.


Wayne said:

“ … here is my idea. On the seat, place a large cascading plant like a spider plant. Then mount additional pots all along the sides at various random intervals, and as the plant grows down to the additional pots, root them and encourage them to cascade from there to other pots and so on…”

Wayne, I will let you know which of the prizes you actually won as soon as Beth Pollins and Trish Foutz choose. You may even end up with the first place prizes!

Unfortunately, there are no prizes for “honorable mention,” but I would have had to give one to each of my other entrants if there were. As I suspected, my readers are quite creative. Of all these other entries, I have to mention the one from Pamela as being the most radically inventive, though not one I thought I could use. My regular readers may remember Pamela from my June 16th post, Ottowoman (2) Recycled. There you will find a picture of her standing next to my “two-story” bed which is half as high as she is tall!

Pamela next to my "two-story" bed

Pamela suggested the following:

“I think your chair is wasted at the pool. I think you should lug it inside and up to your room to help you dive into bed at night. If this seems a fantastic idea to you, then I would decorate the chair and its levels with a jungle motif with maybe a snake winding around an upright, monkeys hanging from the cross-members, and maybe the healing woman staking her claim to the seat. I would fit a telescope to the ‘umbrella pole’ so that she could keep an eye on the lion looking down on all this nonsense.

“Forget about the guys in the pool, who shouldn't even be there if they're going to need saving.


I will start the selke sculpture soon, and hope I can finish her before winter sets in. If not, it will be early next spring before she is completed. In the meantime, I will be having another small contest to see if anyone can come up with a name for her as well as the name for the wrecked ship Beth talked about. So, please put on your thinking caps once again.

Thanks once more to everyone! As I said previously, I wish everyone could have won. Your ideas were wonderful! I am so lucky to have such a creative group of readers.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Cheryl!!! I am so happy you chose my idea. I am sure it was a challenge to chose from so many creative entries. Must tell you, I was waiting in an office the other day and I started to write the selkie's story.I hope I can finish it in the future. I can hardly wait to see her and hear all the idea's for her name. She and the shipwreck are nameless in my story. Thank you, thank you Cheryl and all the creative souls who helped jump start my creativity.


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