Do we have Bon Iver to thank for inventing the concept of Wisconsin pride?
(Of course Texans have always had it.)
Anyway, people from the Midwest are practically Canadian for their humble lack of overt state patriotism. I like that about them.
My husband is from Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which is actually Bon Iver's hometown. Ryan's never met him, but he does like to recall listening to Justin Vernon's first band out of high school. It sounded a lot like Jack Johnson, apparently.
So for Christmas this year I decided to make him a piece of string art in the shape of Wisconsin (with a heart where Eau Claire is located).
I got the idea from this Mississippi artist's Etsy shop, which I found through Pinterest. If you don't have the patience to hammer a couple hundred nails into a board like I did, I recommend placing a custom order with Curiously Wrought. She's even made the map of Canada, an impressive feat considering the shape of our three coast lines.
I, however, am short on money — but long on patience. And I have an assistant who demands only cookies as payment.
It should be noted: in order to get anything done with a child underfoot, you must involve them in some small way (but make their contribution seem really significant or they'll lose interest). Also, handing over part-creative control to a preschooler may mean you end up with an orange art project, which is what I did.
She was right though; her dad claims orange to be his favorite color. But when it's a project paying homage to a state known chiefly for its contribution to cheese culture, it can seem a little....literal. Ryan is a good man though, and I'm sure he'll love it all the more knowing Lucy picked the paint chip.
What you need:
-A piece of wood. We reclaimed a board that had been a shelf in a friend's closet. (With her permission, I swear).
-A bunch of 3/4-inch nails (I estimate I used about 250 nails, or approx. 3/4 of a package)
-String, a lot of it (mine was from the dollar store)
Optional: Paint (Orange or any other hopefully non-questionable color), tracing wheel and projector (though you could probably find another way to transfer the shape of your state onto a board!)
To start with, Lucy and I sanded the board a bit to get rid of any splinters and make the paint stick better.
Then we painted a couple thick coats of orange and let it dry completely.
I knew if tried to draw the outline of Wisconsin freehand my husband would end up making fun of me. (Again, damn Americans and their fierce devotion to their state's shape!)
So I set up the projector (my husband bought one for a solo show he performed a few years back), and traced the shape onto a large piece of pattern paper. I drew a heart where Eau Claire is located.
(The upside of re-discovering our projector: my kid was so thrilled to watch an episode of My Little Pony projected onto the wall of our apartment.)
Then I taped the pattern paper to my board and used my tracing wheel to transfer the outline of Wisconsin onto my board. It was actually a pretty great way to do this because I had ready-made spacing for my nails: every three holes I placed a nail.
Then the hammering began.
Lucy only banged my thumb a couple times.
Winding the string was fun. I simply made a slipknot on the end and wrapped it around a nail. Then I zigzagged from the outline to the heart, all the way around, knotting it at the end.
The effect is pretty heartwarming for a cheesehead, dontchathink?
I don't know where in our apartment this is going to go. It's pretty heavy, and the walls in our pre-war apartment are crumbly as an oatmeal crisp. There's no mantle either. Maybe atop a bookcase? (WWBID?)
So that's one of the things I've been working on these past few weeks. Lucky for me, my husband never reads my blog, so I can share this DIY with you even though it's still weeks until Christmas.
What about you? You got state (or province) pride? How do you express it?