Monday, March 4, 2013

365 Jobs: The Wedding Mandap (Part Three)

March 2013

I built a mandap for my daughter's blended Indian/Christian/Jewish/American wedding in 2002.  I tell that story here: 

The Mandap (Part One)
 and here:

 The Mandap (Part Two).

After the wedding, I was told that according to Indian family tradition, the mandap wood should be re-used to build something that would be meaningful and appropriate to the newly bonded families.  I saved the wood but did nothing for a while.  A few years later, when the wedded couple were expecting their first child, they suggested that I use the wood to build a cradle.  What could be more appropriate and meaningful than that?  So I gave it a lot of thought.  The wood amounted to four redwood 2x2s and eight redwood 1x3s, each about eight feet long.

I never built it.  Redwood is notoriously soft, weak lumber.  The expectant parents were extremely safety-conscious (which I applaud) and would require a totally fail-safe cradle.  I couldn't come up with a safe, good-looking, functional design.

Their son is now five years old.  Actually, as he would immediately correct me, he is five and six/twelfths old.  Perhaps I should say five and twenty-seven/fifty-seconds.  He likes to be accurate.

I've made picture frames out of the mandap wood.  In consultation with the parents, we decided to keep the lumber looking pretty much as it was: old whitewashed redwood that had flowers and ivy stapled to it and then was stored in my damp garage for ten years with spiders and banana slugs crawling over it.  In other words, looking like used lumber. 

When I pulled out the lumber, a few dry ivy stems were still stapled to it.  Ivy is like the cockroach: it will survive nuclear Armageddon. 

I removed staples and gave the wood a light sanding to clean it up.  Then I built simple frames.  I re-applied the original white stain and filled a few screw holes.  The staple holes remain. 

I hope the frames look appropriate: mandap wood with a special history, now displaying family photos and the artwork of that amazing bundle of life, fruit of that special wedding.

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