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Art Show: Tools of the Trade

Ode to my trusty pliers... NFS

by Eclectic Elements by sam

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Art: Ode to my trusty pliers...  NFS by Artist Eclectic Elements by sam
Ode to my trusty pliers...


As I contemplated which tool I could not live without, two tools won the "most used" in my studio award.

It was a toss up between my flush cutters and my pliers and my pliers won. These trusty pliers finally needed to be retired. The tips were a bit bent from repeated and forceful use, the handles were beginning to twist when I used them. They had performed admirably during hundreds, no thousands of bends and twists and wire wraps and months - maybe more than a year - of service. They had served me well.

I am a transplant to the Southwest and upon visiting and then moving here I was intrigued by some cultural institutions that I hadn't seen before in my native Midwest.

One of those charming elements that continues to interest me is the Nicho (knee-cho). Nichos are alters used to enshrine meaningful items or pay homage to perhaps a family member or patron saint. Here in New Mexico, nichos are elaborate and colorful. Some are playful, some are somber and some have a mystery about them. They are embellished with milagros and paper and bits of wood and beads and paint. Nichos can be standalone alters, wall hangings and some are even built into walls of homes as a permanent way to be reminded of what is important. Although many people who don't know the real purpose of these nooks use them to house their telephones! Gasp! They are a very interesting embellishment that can hold much meaning...or the Yellow Pages.

I recently acquired some trading card tins from a fellow artisan. I have them out in plain site - yes, I'm a visual learner, of course - so I can try to figure out how to use them.

Retired Pliers, meet this trading card tin lid!

This is my nicho, an homage to my pliers. I embellished it with beads and then added some of the elements I use everyday. Game pieces, interesting focal beads, jump rings, an ear wire, paper and playing card come together in honor of my retired pliers.

I am still making peace with my new pliers. They spring back quicker, the tips are fully aligned, the handles don't twist. They don't quite yet feel like mine, yet they do perform better than the enshrined pair. Am I cheating? Should I have tried to make the recently retired pliers last a bit longer? Well, one thing is certain. These new pliers will eventually be bent and twisted from bending and twisting. And the cycle continues.

by sam


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