The Prosthetic Leg Dilemma

Back in September last year, I was fortunate enough to go to a very unique art exhibition in East London where prosthetic limbs are the canvas.  Spare Parts was organised by Priscilla Sutton and timed to coincide with the Paralympics, which was being held just around the corner.  Whilst I went with the intention of just looking at these weird and wonderful pieces, I found myself going back the following day and buying one of the exhibits.  (This will be featured in a future post).  My leg-based art piece was collected after the exhibition, and to my delight and surprise, it came with a free gift of one of the legs that had been used to advertise the exhibition!  You’ve heard of “how to get ahead in advertising”, well, I now know “how to get aleg in advertising!

The question now was what to do with it.  I wanted to make something of it.  Something interesting and respectful.  Something useful.  I didn’t, however, want to do any irreparable damage damage, and I certainly didn’t want to chuck it in the back of a cupboard and forget about it.

The answer came in the form of an Ikea lamp, some plaster of Paris, a jam jar, one sandal and a bit of oak.  Working out how to get the leg to support the lamp was going to be tricky, and but once I hit upon the idea of mounting the post in a jar first it all got a bit easier.

The jar would act as a solid base for holding the post, but be totally hidden once finished.

Once the plaster of Paris had set the post solid in the jar, I lined the socket of the leg firstly with a plastic bag, then with some cloth.  With the jar then put inside and supported so it was vertical the bag was filled with more plaster of Paris.

The beauty of this is that it moulds exactly to the shape of the socket, but isn’t stuck to it.  The whole “stump” can then be removed.  This means that I can make other attachments for it, like a plant pot, camera monopod, or anything…

Although it’s only a cheap Ikea lamp, it’s quite nice that it is height adjustable.  Here’s some photos with one of my big shoes on it before it was painted.

Red didn’t suit my living room, however, so I took it to Nottingham Hackspace to use the newly installed spray booth.  

I also prepared a lovely piece of oak to use as a base.  With a sandal screwed firmly to it it holds the leg in place quite tightly, and still shows off the toes!

The finished article;

I do wonder if it needs the toenails painting though.