The Accordion Lesson

   by Margaret Hest for Build A Dream (2014)

The head of the large figure is built of plaster cloth formed over a ball and covered with a thin layer of modeling clay. The hair is made of packing peanuts which were sprayed with water, dried, and then painted and glued to the head. The body was formed from the cardboard box lid which was covered with folded and pleated plaster cloth and painted with acrylics. The head is wired to the box via a hanging device added to its back.

The clothing of the small figure is made from card stock which was first crumbled in order to soften its fibers. I stitched the pants with the thread provided and painted the outfit with acrylic paints. The jacket is glued together. I covered the head with a thin layer of clay which I painted a flesh tone. The hair was made from a portion of the sponge, hollowed out to sit neatly on the head. It is glued in place.

The accordions are made of pleated plaster cloth. They are backed with the screen mesh to help them hold their shape and are attached to the mesh with nylon thread. The small accordion is glued to the mannequin's hands. The larger instrument is supported by the Styrofoam rod which was cut into graduated lengths and glued to the inside of the box. It is pinned to the Styrofoam with short lengths of the armature wire.

I kept a dream journal several years ago, and this piece is a depiction of what I recall from the dream. I had recently purchased a second-hand button accordion, and wondered how I would ever be able to learn to play it. I am the small figure, and I am being assisted by the larger- than- life woman who is teaching me how to play my instrument.