Despite my endless fascination with the human condition, I find the day-to-day business of dealing with actual humans a bit exhausting.
Maybe it's because I'm an introvert. Or maybe it's that, as a maker, I believe in the secret life of objects. Whatever it is, I'm always thrilled to encounter an object that I can antropomorphize. In my pre-China days, it was the overlooked architecture of factories and agro-industry: watertowers, dust collectors, grain dryers...
These days, it's the Stripey Mop.
The ubiquitous stripey mop, made from T-shirt fabric, which you might know from trying to clear up a spill with a t-shirt, is really not a great absorbent material. But never mind, at less than a $1US you can't beat the price. And so they hang out everywhere, from the most local courtyard to the service closet at the poshest hotel. And if I see a good one, even though I know the neighbors will be gossiping about why the foreigner has yet another mop tied to the back of her bike, I can't resist adding to my collection.
Once, in very early days here, I saw an old man with all his mop-making paraphernalia spread out all around him on a street corner. Wood handles, various colors of t-shirt strips, plastic wrap for the initial attachment of strips to handle, binding wire to secure the mop's topknot all precisely lais out like in a diagram of the procedure. To his amusement, I stopped to watch for a while but, in a rush to elsewhere, took no pictures. Given the ubiquity of the mops, I expected to see the makers often. But I never have yet again, not once. It's always interesting that: that when you are new to a place, a tourist, the place sometimes opens up to you in a way that it won't again once it has absorbed you.
The View in Fragments: Mops, 2011
Mixed media in glass vitrine, 8.5 x 12.75 x 6.25
Courtesy Bruno David Gallery
Photo credit all above: Bruno David
Photos below: mine from the industrial sweeping supply shop. Note bamboo broom in use.