New Series: Fun and Unusual Art Materials and their Therapeutic Uses… 1. The Safety Pin

It’s been too long since my last post, partly because I haven’t known what to write about since the sudden death I mentioned. Everything I’ve thought of has been really serious and I probably wasn’t in the mood to get into that kind of material…

So I just got the idea to do a new series on strange and unusual art materials and their uses, as I have been fascinated with safety pins lately.

I first was reminded of the fun of using safety pins in clothing when I saw the “Punk” show at the Met a while ago. I bought their special safety pin duck tape at the show and then ran to the P & S Fabric Store around the corner from my studio and purchased a bunch of silver/metal and gold/brass colored safety pins and started playing with them. First I just added them to collages, journal covers, altered books and paintings, and recently I have become quite obsessed with putting them in necklaces.

The necklace thing happened very randomly. I suddenly thought of putting some safety pins in my necklace. They are perfect to put beads on and then put on the necklace. In fact, it reminded me how some people put beads on safety pins and immediately have a pin to pin on to their clothing. Once I put a few in a necklace, while working with a patient who was into the safety pins with beads I realized it looks even cooler to put a whole bunch of safety pins on the necklace, especially a bunch of them beaded at the bottom. Now I want to bead up a ton of them and string them on a necklace all by themselves. I’m not sure if it would be too heavy for the elastic I use for beading but I’m excited to try experimenting. I bought some different size safety pins and found black ones too on Friday.

The origin of the safety pin is long and interesting. I found a great link that describes ancient types of safety pins similar to the modern one and then Hunt’s invention of it and the use of it in “punk” fashion. It seems actually that the safety pin became punk by accident. Johhny Rotten claimed to use them to keep clothes together, not as anything more meaningful.

I find the two associations of baby diapers and punk to be a fun juxtaposition for an “art material”. Also the name “safety pin” is interesting, as the safety pin was originated to attach things so your clothing would be “safe” from falling apart, or to I guess pin diapers. However the safety pin is actually dangerous and could be considered a weapon as the pin is very sharp. I would imagine it would be confiscated on Inpatient Hospital Units for mental illness, as it could very well be used for self harm or harm to others.

The other cool thing about the safety pin as an art material is its use as a “connector”. Symbolically using the safety pin could be associated with connecting with others, connecting things, etc. When not using it for jewelry, I glued it directly on surfaces or actually pinned it through a piece of duct tape or fabric…

I will post some photos of art work using safety pins in the next few days…


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