Tuesday, May 05, 2015

My brief foray into street vending in the 1970s. Elmer's Glue Art

When I was in college, I made some sculptures out of Elmer's Glue. The glue dried into clear drops that I could color with felt pen to look sort of like stain glass. Thinking these might sell as Christmas ornaments, I took some home to Pullman, where I am from, for Christmas Break. Thought I would try selling from a sidewalk stand. First I checked with Pullman City Hall to see if it was okay and found out that one needed a vender's permit. That cost around $10 which isn't too bad, but one also needed a liability insurance bond just in case someone stumbles over the stand and tries to sue the city. Premium for said insurance was around $140. Good for one whole year, but I only needed it for a few days. Needless to say, I gave up on the idea.

Upon returning to Bellingham, I decided to try selling at Vendor's Row near Viking Union Building on WWU campus. Process was much more accessible as no insurance bond was needed. After some easy paperwork, I got a table and tried selling my ornaments for a few days. They didn't sell. It was a learning experience and I'm glad I wasn't out the insurance bond.

Eventually, I glued my unsold inventory of ornaments into an odd looking wreath. Then I baked the wreath till it looked like dried lasagna. On the last few days of my table reservation, my strange looking wreath was an attention getter. I used it to pass out flyers for a friend who was doing a concert on campus.

Photographers from Klipsun (WWU campus feature magazine) took some photos to use with a feature article on gross food. The article may have been published, but those photos never made it in. A moral of the story is that it was nice to have a space with low overhead to experiment even if the experiments didn't lead to commercial viability.

Below: Another sculpture made from dried Elmer's Glue pieces that I still have. Took a month for the pieces to dry. Pieces made from pouring glue into small forms that I made from card paper. I used the wax from color crayon to cover the card paper so the water based glue would not stick to the forms. When the glue pieces dried, I glued it all together and then baked it in a low temperature oven.

Written piece I did in my dorm room to accompany sculpture.

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