Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Anything goes.

My son has been playing the drum set since September, and is taking lessons. Sometimes he  sits down to play at half past five in the morning, more frequently he waits until way past half past six, and although he has made terrific progress in that short time he hasn’t really mastered the art of playing in low volume.

Just before Christmas his teacher invited all his students for a “Christmas Party”. The children brought Christmas cookies, the teacher served children’s punch, and then they watched two DVDs featuring different drumming events. I am not going to muse here about whether that is an appropriate agenda for a Christmas Party, or whether that might have taken place at any other time during the year just as well. Because it was my son’s first Christmas Party with this teacher, and we didn’t really know what to expect, my husband and I agreed that we wanted to go along, but that we would take turns. I went there with my son and my husband followed later, so I could leave. During the time I was there, I got to see the larger part of the DVD featuring a drum-musical “Stomp”
I have to admit that I had not thought about drum-set when I had promised myself that my son would be allowed to take lessons on any instrument he chose. I did not even consider drum set a real instrument. But my son has been a drummer all his life, looking back I even understand now that he already was a drummer while I was still carrying him. So he has taught me a lot about the fascination of rhythmic instruments, and I am beginning to understand much more about it, and even have started to enjoy it.
But I had not been prepared what I got to see in this film. It started with several people tied to a high scaffolding with climbing gear, and a large number of drummable items tied to it also. There were wheel rims, beer barrels, pipes in all sizes (metal and plastic), plastic containers, tin buckets, anything that resembled cymbals, and many more that I could not identify. Nothing that would ‘normally’ be called a drum. And those people were drumming, you bet!
Followed change of scene: broom ballet. The swishing sound, hitting the broom’s head on the floor, tap-dancing-shoes, ten people – you’ve probably never seen anything like it. Before my husband took over I still got to see Basketball-Drumming in an American backstreet, wet from rain, and a card-players-drum-quartet. When I left, not a single word had been spoken in the film.
So how is all this relevant on this blog? My son had been drumming on anything he could lay his hands on for quite a while before he finally got the drum set. Of course, this should have showed me a lot – namely that anything can be drum, anything goes. This was definitely brought across in the film: the whole world is a single drum. It reminded me of  Margit Amann von Gelmbotzki’s description in the supplies list for the Bauhaus-workshop in November: „Anything that fits under a sewing machine can be sewn!“ Or of the way of thinking of surface designers who look at things only under the evaluation of „can this be used to print on fabric?“ I myself have quite a collection down in the basement, waiting for the day when I will finally start using it. Just a few days ago I looked at the plastic roll which constituted the interior of a strand of satin used for wrapping gifts and decided that I was going to add that to my collection and test how it can be used in printing on fabric.

Anything goes, anything can be turned into art. Why do I still stick to fabric, piecing, threads and quilts? It might not be long now before I finally come up with a good idea what to do with those metal shirt hangers which keep accumulating in our basement after my husband’s shirts come back from the dry cleaner and I feel sorry to throw them away:

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