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Arty types: Design advice please - family tree sculptural thingy in garden

(43 Posts)
hub2dee Tue 30-May-06 10:29:16

I have space in a flower bed next to the lawn and am contemplating some kind of sculptural thing for dd's 1st birthday to have a representation of the people in the family (us / grandparents / aunts and uncles). The concept is fairly vague I know, but I was thinking of handprints in cement - maybe done individually or all in some kind of layout. Individual casts might be stacked 'totem pole' style, with plants around... the idea is that it is a permanent record of the people in dd's life, something to touch / contemplate in the future maybe.

Has anyone done anything similar (outdoors or in), or have any ideas how I might develop / execute the idea ? I contemplated a high-tech version with little screen / camera to leave video messages etc. but I think something much simpler would be more elegant...

Might also do one of all the NCT babies etc. might be quite fun for the future...

Any input appreciated.

hub2dee Tue 30-May-06 13:39:16

Hmmm, is this too way out for MN, LOL ?

zippitippitoes Tue 30-May-06 13:43:41

I was going to have a think about this for you until I spotted the word elegant..which I find I'm not that good at..

I rather like the Mexican home alters

tyedye Tue 30-May-06 13:44:05

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zippitippitoes Tue 30-May-06 13:54:54

I like the digital image can get with this


You can use almost any material, probably too fussy for you though!

hub2dee Tue 30-May-06 14:13:44

LOL, z. It doesn't need to be fine art, but I don't want it to look completely crap IYSWIM. A half way house perhaps ?

The lazertran looks like a fun product but I've never done any photo / graphics manipulation - just 'straight' photography, and I think that might look a bit 'vivid' IYSWIM. Nonetheless, I will think about using it as old pictures could be transferred onto large pebbles etc. and that could be neat...

I googled the home altars thingy. this short page has some useful text for the non-altar-familiar amongst us (including myself).

I haven't tyedyed since I was about 9, td ! (Wore a few t-shirts mind you)...

Maybe mosaic, but I think I'm after something fairly low in terms of colour / brightness...

One idea came to me whilst reading the altar stuff:

A (solid) cube to sit on, with hand impressions let into each side so you can rest your hand on it IYSWIM....

Also... a kind of 7 foot tall tree trunk type thing, but hollow in the middle, with an aperture in the side (and then the trunk is solid beneath), so it is dark inside, but there is a shaft of light which can come down, and you can grab different hand impressions from somewhere and stick them in the lit hole IYSWIM and rest your hand on that...

This has totally got to be my most way-out MN thread by a long shot. LOL.

Whizzz Tue 30-May-06 14:23:56

Could you make (or get made) a metal 'tree' with branches to hang things off ??
You could then do your cement casts of hands etc (would have to be frost proof for winter!)or hang photos in acrylic / laminate etc ???

JackieNo Tue 30-May-06 14:24:33

Could you use a metal obelisk, and make sort of tiles with handprints in, with holes in the corners, that you could then tie/wire on to the obelisk? Not convinced it would work, but easily added to, as well, if necessary.

zippitippitoes Tue 30-May-06 14:31:51

You can get copper/metals thin enough to cut and emboss into it would make tinkly streamers

beachcombing for found objects to make sculptural images of the family members, wood and iron is good for this..

JackieNo Tue 30-May-06 14:37:01

How good are you at DIY? How about something like this (the 'Asian Tower' one at the bottom - with people's names on)?

zippitippitoes Tue 30-May-06 14:53:13

what about willow art

some interseting links here

hub2dee Tue 30-May-06 15:05:03

Now I'm wondering if my cement casts will be frost resistant... I hope I don't need to do lost wax casting stuff. I'm after cheap / quick 'n easy really. Maybe I can devise a way to keep the hands out of the rain (with a protective cover) or shielded by the 'tree' / 'totem pole' thingy...

I can do some DIY, and know a good chippie. MIL used to wield chainsaws and weld, but that was a few moons ago now.

Not sure about willow art. I'm after longevity.

Thanks for all input.

Whizzz Tue 30-May-06 17:45:31

Could you cast something in a polymer type material (be careful though Googling moulded body parts !!)

Or draw round hands & feet on wood & cut out, sand, varnish etc ??

I love the idea by the way !

JackieNo Tue 30-May-06 21:54:16

You need to make clay tiles and glaze and fire them, maybe?

tyedye Wed 31-May-06 09:26:55

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tyedye Wed 31-May-06 09:28:20

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hub2dee Thu 01-Jun-06 19:19:30

blimey... fibreglass, clay, stylish mosaics... whatever next.

We'll all be drinking freshly-picked nettle tea next.

Thanks for all the ideas. I am still chewing things over...

Chandra Thu 01-Jun-06 22:50:48

I have saw a beautiful fountain, it was a brass three, tall, thin and very stylish and water dropped from the stem of the leaves into the leaves and from there to the ground. I think it was about £2000 but I havemisplaced the details of the sculptor. When I saw it I thought of engraving a few anecdotas of things DS have done, that have made us smile, into the leaves.

But as I don't have the £2000 to buy such a wonderful tree I used a normal one with old style luggage tags with the thoughts on it. Obviously, you would need metal tags for an outside tree.

Chandra Thu 01-Jun-06 22:51:21

I have saw? please... I have seen

tyedye Fri 02-Jun-06 13:19:06

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JackieNo Fri 02-Jun-06 13:25:14

How about hanging these copper labels from something?

JackieNo Fri 02-Jun-06 13:26:04

And they have slate ones too.

bettythebuilder Fri 02-Jun-06 13:58:32

great link, jackieno - those copper labels are lovely.

hub2dee Fri 02-Jun-06 21:51:53

\link{ guy} also makes fab fountains, Chandra !

I have a small pond in the garden, with a dripping rotten tree stump, so I don't think I'd go for another water feature, but it would be a great way to do the sort of thing I'm going on about !

The labels look a bit small really (well, the copper ones do), but maybe good for labelling my plants ! The idea is good though. Simple, quick, cheap ! Thanks.

Am still scratching head. And will probably continue to scratch for quite some time !

SoupDragon Fri 02-Jun-06 21:59:57

You need to have something you can take with you should you move and that you can add to should more family members come along.

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