Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Put a Cork In It

We talk about doing projects all the time. Artsy projects: the ones that fall between housework and demo-ing something. Usually it seems like they are unreachable dreams lost in our "some day." That is until last week when one of those long term projects came together quite nicely.

It all started with a little wine. For years, D meticulously saved the corks from bottles we opened together and with friends (or the ones from Napa he opened alone, while I was pregnant, claiming they would go bad = grr...). These wines were both good (the pregnancy ones) and so so vintages. Sometimes it was all about the novelty of the bottle, but pretty much any cork made its way in to an over sized bottle that collected dust on a shelf. Every now and then someone would remember to write on the cork what we had done the night we drank it and who we had shared the bottle with, but most of the time we just blindly saved the corks from post party clean-up and added them to the heap.

The collection grew fairly big. It got to the point where that over sized bottle, a large patron bottle, and then some empty vases were filled with corks. I grew increasingly annoyed at the collection of dust bunnies. Finally D transitioned all the corks in to one bag (due to employee uprising on my part) and brought them downstairs to our storage room. Admittedly I became a disbeliever in the project's fruition. I would secretly toss out stray corks; it just felt like this great idea would join the others on the island of misfit projects.

Cut to two weeks ago: our neighbor left a frame in the alley when he moved out. It was worn, weathered wood - soft and full of texture. I immediately liked it and brought it in to our house. I figured I would find some cool photo to put in it. When I came home the next night I was faced with the bag full of corks strewn across the table. I had seen it out a few times and it was always a sight I met with dismay because I knew the project would never get done. BUT when I saw the piece of board D had trimmed down to fit in to the back of the "alley" frame; it all made sense. The worn wood fit perfectly with the corks. 

Later on D had achieved significant ground on our little project (which I now take half credit for even though it was really his brainchild for 3-4 years). I found him and miss M at work at our kitchen table, making sense of the puzzle ahead. D was doing most of the "heavy lifting" and miss M was inspecting a singular piece all for herself. He was halfway through the layout, it looked pretty good. We started talking about where we could hang it once he was done and everything was glued down. We realized there was more vertical wall space options than horizontal ones. It was at that point Mr. Maillet lost his steam.

Not to worry I picked it up the next day and turned most everything 90 degrees (...and brought a little balance to the piece). I got to spend time looking over the illustrations on the corks. Damn I wish I could remember some of the wines better and I wish we wrote on more of the corks. I'm sure a ton hit the trash that should be included in this piece but then again, there are so many others that made it: corks from our trip to Napa when I turned 30; from late nights with friends just here at home; from new years and other holidays; champagne celebrations, etc. All of it good. I'm talking years of memories here, and as D pointed out, a few thousand dollars in wine. 

I had the layout done by the time D got home from work. We sat that night on each side of the frame gluing each piece down. We joked about caulk and each other's glue capabilities. We sipped wine and tried to remember the ones we already had. It is a great memory in and of itself.


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