Cable Ties

Posted by on April 24, 2012

It is not overstating to say that my life changed when I realized how much easier cable ties (or zip ties) could make my life. I had seen them before, you know bundling cable together, but had never thought about using them in art, or in theater.

The year was 2002 and I had just started grad school. I was painting in the scene shop when the TD pulled me away to help him hang a tent from the ceiling (it seemed like a good idea at the time?). We used zip ties. Visually clean, neat, strong, cheap, my mind was blown.

I was an instant convert. I wanted to use them for everything, and I did. That was about the time my friends started getting married. I decorated all their weddings leaning heavily on white zip ties to hold up strings party lights and swags of fabric. Whenever I need to give a gift to someone who is hard to buy for (teenage boys spring to mind) they get a variety pack of zip ties with a note about all the uses they have around the home and auto.

It was only in the last few years that I noticed them popping up in art. Not holding elements together necessarily, but the zip ties themselves as the raw material for sculpture.

These are just a few examples.

Students in an interior architecture program in Germany constructed this ethereal web of ties to create communal areas as well as cocoon retreats.

This bear’s shape is defined by a few suspension points, but the form is entirely zip ties. It looks like a fuzzy ghost.

This clothing store in West Hollywood used white and brightly colored zip ties to form this temporary installation.

They are pretty perfect for temporary displays: cheap, lightweight, colorful – and awesome. The only downside is the amount of time that a piece like this must take to construct.

cocoon photos from here

bear (Zip Tie Massimal) by Design Office Takebayashi Scroggin photo from here

store display by Molly Hunker and Gregory Corso photos from here

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