Blessed Be the Glue

Glue Detail Screen Grab © Catherine Rutgers 2010Threads that connect have always been my preference over ties that bind. However, my relationship with glue, paste, and their tacky, odoriferous mate – rubber cement – has rolled and twisted through the years.

This might seem disgusting, but the paste we used in the early 1960s was made out of horse bones, it tasted like mint, and all of us grade schoolers used to eat it. Mucilage, on the other hand, was just continuously distasteful. Poor performance and an annoying word to boot.

Elmer’s Carpenter’s Interior Wood Glue is no doubt the best, despite the awkward name. Not only does it leave a lustrous but not-too-shiny sheen over paper and canvas, as far as I can tell, it lasts forever. Things that aren’t glued properly fall apart. This used to drive me crazy until I noticed the caramel-colored traces left behind. Four new scans of this effect are shown here.

Did I mention pouring a thin layer of Elmer’s on your arm, waiting for it to dry, and slowly peeling it off? We kids did that, too.

Open Door Light 1979 and 2010 © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Glue Revealed 1979 and 2010 © Catherine Rutgers 2016

Globe for Reposed 2010 © Catherine Rutgers 2016Catherine Rutgers © 2010

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3 Responses to Blessed Be the Glue

  1. My preferred variation was rubber cement dried on the back of my hand then rolled into little super balls. i love the word “mUcIlAgE”!

    • Hello, Vic, and thanks for the comment! Now, I’m picturing tiny (or even quite substantial) balls of rubber cement careening around in uneven paths as they bounce hither and yon. I know this is a fascinating activity I once enjoyed, though I don’t think my hand was the chosen surface for production. Marcel Duchamp, and all you other body-art luminaries, you have nothing over kids with restless minds and a modicum of freedom for inventive pursuits. Sometimes we didn’t even need supplies: we were utterly delighted, for example, to get a really bad sunburn and carefully peel the skin off in lacy patterns, always seeking the largest layer possible. Though, granted, we never thought to save or document the results.

      By the way, Vic, every time I search your art, whether at Victrolux of Vimeo, there’s another visual treasure to be found. Catch of the day: “Color Abstractions” http://vimeo.com/40822357

  2. Periodically, I check and update the posts at CatRutgers4art. Usually, it’s for text adjustments, but this time I changed the layout … now realize how tricky the setup was and hope this might be more stable. In any case, the images aren’t quite so tiny, and now I’m going to let it be. Love, Cat

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