[2008-11-24] Minimalist mirror hangs by friction alone

Front shot of mirror taken with flash, showing beveled edge.

Sometimes I like to peruse the snooty design catalogs. On the one hand, while I'm sickened by the notion of anyone paying thousands of dollars for a chair, those "name" designers often have clever ideas that are easily liberated to create accessible DIY design. And that's the elaborate preamble I require to justify why I was once leafing through a book, published in early 2001, called The Dream Catalog: A revolutionary, new, illustrated directory of the most beautiful, stylish and amazing objects available on the Internet. It is exactly what it sounds like--porno for consumer whores. But among the pretentious affronts to decency I came across a simple wall mirror (unfortunately named "Hopi") that was suspended from a single peg in the wall by a rough manilla rope threaded back and forth through holes drilled in the glass. There were no knots in the rope, and the mirror had no frame. Just a piece of silvered glass, with holes, and a bit of rope threaded through them. The mirror was supported by friction against the rope alone. And lo, friends, I was charmed.

So for several years I had a to-do mouldering in one of my bottomless to-do piles: "Reproduce Hopi mirror on the cheap." I bought a mirror from the thrift store and took a hunk of manilla rope off the shelf. I liberated the mirror from its frame and, considerably later in the process than I probably should have, began to consider the problem of drilling holes in the glass. I learned how it could be done using brass tubing of an appropriate diameter mounted in a drill over a slurry of water and silicon carbide grit. And then real life intervened, as it often does, and the project stalled. All those bits are still in a box in a storage shed out back.

And so like but then this weekend I was helping a buddy run a garage sale, and emong the detritus I discovered a round mirror about 20" in diameter that was secured to a circular frame by screws through four holes drilled in the glass. So I plunked down $5 and took the thing apart, recovering the precious drilled glass and discarding the rest. I stopped at the hardware store on the way home that evening and bought 6' of 5/16" manilla rope for less than a buck. I had a spare coathook in the junk box. And it took about 5 minutes to thread the rope through the holes, mount the coathook on the wall, and hang up the mirror. Strike one long-time, albeit relatively minor, personal goal. And the moral is....oh I dunno. "Always be on the lookout for useful junk?" Or how about, "Learn to recognize the potential value of every little feature of a found object?" Or maybe just, "If you can find a mirror with holes drilled in it you can hang it from a rope all groovy-like."

Oblique shot of mirror showing detail of rope threading.

last modified 2008-11-24