I found a bag-full of little boxes and packets of safety pins for a few dollars in a second hand store. And every artist knows that safety pins have excellent TP (texture-potential)!
Some of them proved to be the old fashioned kind of safety pins, like the ones I grew up with, (in the good ol' days when safety pins were strong and didn't bend when you pushed them through tough materials.) So I set aside a selection of those and proceeded to be creative with the rest.
As the process began, I was counting on a design I'd drawn on my canvas to help me line up the safety pins. However, the pins were so difficult to control, I became frustrated and walked away from my canvas. It reminded me of trying to control a bunch of unruly kids.
In time I remembered a bundle of mystery wires I'd found at a Frenchy's in Yarmouth, NS – and inspiration returned. These wires were bendable but very stiff, I didn't know what they were used for but I bought them because I thought they had good TP (see 1st paragraph). Turns out they were perfect placement guides for my safety pins! (Children need pretty stiff guidelines if you're going to make something beautiful out of them.)
Line up the pins, pour on the glue, line up the pins, pour on the glue ... . When I work on my art pieces, I often post short video clips of my progress on Instagram/FaceBook and one day I mentioned the wires and how stiff they were, and how I had no idea what they would have been used for.
The wire mystery was solved when someone responded to my FB post and said they looked like the underwires sewn into bras (she knew what they looked like because she'd had her troubles with underwire bras – she wasn't alone!).
The town of Yarmouth used to have cotton mills and clothing factories, so it's no surprise that an old bundle of these wires would show up in a second hand store in Yarmouth.
I ended up using 592 safety pins on this painting. I used another 422 pins on some mini paintings that I did afterwards (the rest were saved for future clothing repairs). … Below is a close-to-final, not-so good pic of my safety pin painting – which is yet to be titled.
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