Saturday, January 28, 2017


The idea for making a trammel comes from Mary Snyder Behrens (link below).  I found her series on Pinterest and fell in love with the idea.  According to Behrens a trammel is a box created to hold memories of found items.  I have made my own interpretation of her idea.  

I made an envelope out of brown waxed paper.  I crinkled it and added some line qualities with heavy string (on the inside of the envelope).  My found items are pieces of ephemera that are scraps that I could not throw away.  I made fifteen collages out of those scraps.  The collages go inside the envelope and I will then bind the envelope with more twine, never to open it again.

The idea of a memory inside the envelope relates to memories inside our brain.  We can not relive memories but we can hold onto them and revisit them through our thoughts.

I taught trammel creating in my  Tuesday garage class.  It is really fun to see what has been interpreted by these artists.  I suggested that perhaps someone might like to bury their trammel in a hole in the backyard. I do not think I have any takers on that idea.  That is just fine.  I suggested binding it with twine after the collages are complete and inside the envelope. I call this collage bondage! That is difficult for some because they want to look at their creations again.  No problem, that is perfectly acceptable.  Once the idea is out there it can be interpreted by the artist in a way that suits him or her.  My instruction is just a suggestion.  I am always telling my students that they are the artist and can make decisions different from the instruction.

Others want to follow the instructions to a T.  That is fine, too.  Some do not like the non-descriptiveness of the plain brown waxed paper.  They want to stencil or collage the envelope.  Guess what?  That is fine, too.  

I may be cheating a little because I am uploading my collages to this blog.  So I will in a way be able to revisit each one anytime I like by returning to the blog.  I think that is the best of all possibilities because I can "lock" up the collages and still be able to see them.  Tomorrow....the unveiling of the fifteen collages. :-)

Trammel (cover)


Mary Snyder Behrens

Behrens "book" inside the collaged fabric cover has just captured my attention.  I love it.  If you get a chance check out her work by clicking on the link below.



jacki long said...

I love this so much John, and the many possibilities.
Thanks also for the reference to this artist's amazing work.
I can see why it appealed to you.
I feel like there is a slight correlation to my journals,
except I can view them even though don't.
Great post, looking forward to tomorrow's 15! ;o)

Brian Kasstle said...

I love this idea. After looking at her's I am thinking she may have bound an Altoids tin, just from the shape. I love this idea. I LOVE the stiched ones!!!

tgarrett said...

I find her work and the concept to be very interesting. In her artist statement on the Trammels her thoughts on beauty are moving to me. I will say I have mixed feelings about the concept of sealing away memories- on one had it is a great release for some but now more than ever I need to share and I need the connection with others and my memories. So I can't seal mine away. I will say her tissue paper pieces on her web site are very moving- her tribute to her mother and the torn paper collages are amazing.