Charles Hecht
Racquet Photo Frame

Badminton is back. Well, not as a game. At least I hadn’t noticed it returning as a game and I wouldn’t be mentioning it here if it was. After all this is not The Starving Artist’s Guide to Retro Lawn and Parlor Games. Badminton is back in the sense that we are going to put to good use all those racquets you see floating through junk shops, garages, yard sales, attics, etc. If you’re Jessica Stockholder, of course, you’ve probably already figured out a way to put them to use, so never mind. The rest of you might as well read on.

It’s a pretty oddball moniker, "badminton", though not even remotely as bizarre as "shuttlecock," which is the name for the thing you’re supposed to hit around with the badminton racquet. The very idea of badminton is kind of classically British in spirit – reminiscent of P.G. Wodehouse characters getting out of "scrapes" with the help of clever valets not weighed down by years of aristocratic in-breeding and lazing about. And those cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. And people playing sports in white v-necked sweaters. And Lucian Freud and YBAs and…OK wow, I’m digressing. Let’s just say that if you’ve got one or two of those badminton racquets and you don’t know what to do with them, here’s an idea:

The racquets are nice objects and are generally made of wood, which is always rustic and charming, and are equipped with nice round openings, a perfect Starving Artist styled picture frame. You can paint the racquet first if you want, or give it a coat of shiny polyurethane. Cut out the strings — unless you are truly and deeply arty and want to make a point about how the human condition is one of bondage and we all live caged lives. Then, by all means go ahead and mount your photo behind that mesh of strings so you will be able to see your picture clearly.

You’ll need:
the racquet
a photo
a sheet of light cardboard (the cereal box type is fine)
a pencil
a matte knife
a small piece of wire
wood glue
paint, decorative paper, spray mount (all optional)

Take the cardboard and trace around the face of the racquet. Cut out the card board oval and trim to fit exactly on the back of the racquet without sticking out on the sides. You can paint this cardboard or spray mount nice paper to it, as this will be the "matte" for your photo.

Now, decide on the size of your matte window. It should be smaller than your photo so the photo’s edges don’t show, but how much smaller is negotiable. Let’s say 1/2" all around. Cut the center of the cardboard with a matte knife to create an opening that is 1" less than your photo in both length and width and tape your photo to the back of this opening. Glue the cardboard to the back of the racquet. Attach a small loop of wire through the top two string holes in the racquet and hang your photo on the wall. Presto and voila. You can also cross a pair of these racquets, wiring their handles together in the middle, for "doubles" pictures where you have two photos that go together well.

Jessica Stockholder: American Installation artist (b. 1959) who creates her work from arrangements of ordinary objects like tennis balls and cans of paint in juxtapositions designed to elicit new meanings and perceptions.

Lucian Freud: German-born English Neo-expressionist painter (b. 1922). Freud’s focus on portraiture and particularly the seemingly blank and alienated mood that is expressed with his figures has caused all kind of speculation about the role of psychology in his work, and in particular the possible legacy of granddaddy Sigmund, aka the father of modern psychoanalysis.

YBAs: An abbreviation for the term Young British Artists coined by advertising mogul/art collector Charles Saatchi and including Damien Hirst, Rachel Whiteread, Chris Ofili and Tracy Emin.
© 2004-2007 Nava Lubelski, All Rights Reserved.