The nature of assemblage, at least for me, is that the objects themselves direct which way the art will go. This has its plusses and minuses. It is a plus, for whatever object is in hand at the moment steers the direction of the art, and can keep things fresh and new. The downside is that if I am looking for a very specific piece, and can’t find it, an art piece may be stalled indefinitely, and much cursing ensues.

A rusty food chopper

The main object found in today’s feature definitely steered the art. Yet another unique item from Micky’s old barn of treasures, this is a vintage food chopper, minus the wood handle, which probably fell off ages ago. When I first viewed it, I saw it as Napoleon’s bicorn hat, and envisioned making some crazy little character. But the part I was going to use for the head is currently part of another unfinished piece, and dropped the idea.

A member of the class Trilobita

I found the next idea while paging through some biology books. I came upon the picture seen to the left, which is a trilobite fossilized in rock. As you may know, trilobites are an extinct class of arthropod. There were over 20,000 species of them that roamed the oceans, but died out around 250 million years ago. Lowers my bicorn hat in respect.

A member of the Canidae family, watching the progress

I saw the food chopper as a good trilobite head. So the trilobite assemblage began. I started scrounging up other parts that would work for the body. The exoskeleton was the hardest part, as it is made of lots of tiny parts. I have a drawer full of long pieces of little aluminum and other bits, and decided I would use those. I cut out a piece of plywood that would be used as the backing for the body.

I wanted the eyes to be glassy and prehistoric looking (however that actually looks) and used some glass (plastic) planter gems. I drilled holes through the chopper and plywood and was able to connect the metal eye “sockets” (see picture) with the chopper and the plywood body with screws, which made a good secure fit. The glass gems were attached later.

A rubber tube was attached to the end of the chopper, to be used as a tail of some sort…I was relieved to find out that some trilobites do have tails as I didn’t want to incur the wrath of any paleontologists.


The main body assembled, I got to work on the details. I took all the metal sticks I had and arranged them on the body, having to cut them all to fit. I tried to get some variety of silver and brownish-gold. I glued these down and then applied some paint for highlight. Next I put the eyes in, with the glass gems above and some coupling fittings to encase them. A metal apparatus of some sort was added as the “stinger” of the tail, and the rubber tube was nailed down to the board. Here is the finished trilobite:

Chopperhead Trilobite

“Tril” is 14 inches long from head to tail, 7 inches tall and hangs about an inch off the wall.

“Tril” has been adopted to a good home. Feel free to check out other available animal assemblages here.

The Troubles With Trilobites
Tagged on:                             

4 thoughts on “The Troubles With Trilobites

  • May 24, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    It’s a trill to see what you’ve done with an old food chopper. Really nice work.

    • May 24, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Thanks so much Em! and it’s trill fun to come up with new creatures.

  • May 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Hah ! Photographic proof that it’s actually MITZI who does all the work.

    • May 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      So true, she’s even worked around the whole “no-opposable thumbs” thing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *