Tinkertoy trellis

While we were away, a reader left a Comment in response to our post about Constantino Nivola’s Tinkertoy lamps. She described a trellis she had made out of vintage Tinkertoys bought on Ebay. She devised it to display her tillandsia, which are also known as air plants because they grow without soil and can be placed just about anywhere.

We wrote back asking if she had any photos. In a follow-up Comment, she sent us these photos which knocked us out: Tinkertoy as naturally sculptural, Bauhausian trellis! She also wrote:

Obviously, I’m no master of the Tinkertoy (or the photographic, for that matter) medium. And truth be told, I pretty much lack artistic ability, in general. However, one of the great things about Tinkertoys is that, even despite a complete lack of talent, you can at least count on being able to create something with some structural integrity. And with the size and overall shape you’re looking for. So, that’s good.

We were struck by her opinion of herself has lacking artistic ability and talent. We see her Tinkertoy trellis as showing a lot of talent for beauty and most important of all: a willingness to try her idea out. She reminds us of our own brains’ multiplex opinionator, which often convinces us of notions that aren’t true and which we are curiously quick to believe, evidence to the contrary. Lately, we’ve been working hard to take a look at those internal opinions, and the erroneous notions that sometimes stymy us.

If we can’t actually dismantle the opinion, we find it useful to DO OUR IDEA ANYWAY!

Related posts: wabi sabi, the perfection of imperfection
‘harness the power of being an idiot!’
tool for improvising: defer judgment
constantino nivola’s tinkertoy lamps (d-i-y, look close)
tinkering schools for kids and adults 

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3 replies on “d-i-y tinkertoy trellis! + dismantling self-judgments

  1. Wow! This post was fairly eye-opening for me. When I built these, my thought process ran pretty much along the lines of: problem —> solution. I guess it never occurred to me that art or artistry entered much into the equation, since I possessed no grand visions that I would then dive into my vast reservoir of skills and abilities to fulfill (i.e., my idea of what actual artists do). I pretty much just played. Put a trellis together; took it apart; put another trellis together; took it apart…until I found something that I could live with.

    If there is art here (and who am I to judge, really?), I suspect the medium is mostly responsible for it. If art is indeed as much about experimentation as anything else is, then well, the Tinkertoy is a perfect medium for it, as it pretty much demands that experimentation. Nails, glue, and even paint can be intimidating to work with. For me, at least. But this? This was just moving sticks around a bit. Anybody can do that. It’s fun!

  2. ‘problem ->solution’ is often the though process in making art. The artistry comes, and is also a function of the materials. You ‘played’ and look what happened. I’m going to go buy some vintage Tinkertoys; so many possibilities. Thanks again for sending the photos.

  3. Who says adults have to ‘put away childish things’? This is wonderful!

    It could be a framework for a seasonal display, too. Paper stars, snowflakes, hearts and roses, etc. That could be fun. Or a zillion origami cranes, or or or…

    I think part of why this works so well is the plants are uniform — it doesn’t look cluttered, it looks deliberate. The plants look like perching birds or floating sea creatures in this context. Much cooler than the ubiquitous empty seashells these poor plants often get stuffed into!

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