Spider, Spider...

Contributed by Carmen Summerfield

I love spiders. I love how they crawl up my leg. I love how they get in my hair. I love how they crawl into my ears. Ewww, that was just a nightmare! I think everyone has, somewhere in the back recess of their mind, some fear of spiders.

So I decided to confront my fears, and make a little spider as part of my artwork. Spiders are not all alike. When researching spiders I found thousands of varieties. I chose to make a generic model of a Daddy Long Legs, also known as “Harvestmen”.  Technically, the Daddy Long Legs is neither a spider nor an insect. It is an arachnid, which makes it more closely related to spiders than insects. But regardless of the name, it looks so cute!

What better material to use than an old pile of rebar in our back yard, left over from building my house and now thoroughly infested with all sorts of little hairy crawly creatures. Rebar, what an appropriate material. Thin and spindly, with bumps and ridges and on my rebar, a nice coating of furry rust. Just the ticket for their little spindly legs. 

I cut lengths of rebar scaled to a Daddy Long Legs; my Daddy Long Legs is 5 feet in diameter. I welded these legs together with a joint made from a ball bearing, and attached them to a ring cut from a 6 inch pipe. Remember each leg should be different.

And for the body, a nice rounded rock with a smear of mud and mold. But not just any rock. It had to be the perfect rock, with all the facial features I would expect to see in the Daddy Long Legs of my nightmares!

All the materials have that basic earthy touch; from the ground they came and just like the Daddy Long Legs, into the ground they will go.
I couldn’t stop with making just one Daddy Long Legs. One looked just too lonely, so I ended up making three. These were exhibited at the art pavilion at the Alaska State Fair, where I added a giant 10 foot Daddy Long Legs to the mix. 

It was there I first realized what emotions my Daddy Long Legs, or any spiders, bring about in people.  It’s called “arachnophobia”, or the fear of spiders. This seems to be more prevalent in European cultures. In some other cultures, spiders are included in traditional foods! Rather than go into a long and boring discussion, google or wiki for more info.

And there is an urban legend that the Daddy Long Legs is one of the most poisonous spiders in the world, but their fangs are too short to bite humans. This is not true. Google or wiki this too.

For whatever reason, my Daddy Long Legs evoke an emotion in people, some positive and some negative. I think they are art. 

If you want to discuss art, join us at Sophia’s Café every Thursday at 11am. Go to www.ValleyArtsAlliance.com for more information.