Sunday, December 14, 2014


LOL - It's a trimmed-to-fit bath mat stuck to the "aluminum goodness" by its own suction cups, with small pieces of art arranged on it.
When you read by explanation below, you'll realize that it's not quite as goofy as it might first appear.

I don't have much in the way of art and artifacts (postcards, small handicrafts, etc.) yet because we have barely begun to travel.   
As I mentioned in my Air Forums thread teaser, inspirational credit for this project goes to user "bugsbunny" who used the phrase "aluminum goodness" in a thread devoted to discussing why the Interstate lacks the recognizeability of other Airstream products (namely the trailers).  She mentioned that the aluminum interior is one feature that sets the Interstate well apart from other Class B's.

I agreed about the aluminum, but expounded by noting that, to my knowledge, there are no Interstate owners who are pimping their rides in the artistic sense of the word, and that's really what can captivate the public's imagination and elevate a product from being merely well-received to becoming downright iconic.  There is no shortage of die-hards pimping out their Airstream trailers - that is almost de rigueur (e.g., here, Pinterest example here, and an individual 2012 trailer owner here).  Not so with Interstates.

Combining these two ideas, I resolved to add a bit of art to our Interstate - but not at the expense of its aluminum goodness.  Not only did I not want to cover any of the aluminum up, I actually wanted to add a display medium that would enhance it.  After a few weeks of brainstorming, this is what I came up with.
The aluminum goodness as amplified through a close-up of the bath mat, which is the Tushies and Toes Rattan Bath Mat in clear / colorless.   
The display medium also had to fulfill a number of additional criteria, and this is where the option of using a bath mat gets unexpectedly clever:
  • It had to attach to the wall - and a curving, non-plumb wall at that - with no harsh adhesives and absolutely no holes drilled (and no magnets because there's nothing magnetic behind there). I needed a presentation medium that could be fixed harmlessly to the wall so that the art could be attached to it, and that's a taller order than you might first think.  
  • It had to be adaptable to a non-standard size (in this case, 12" x 24" would fit the available wall space).  
  • The style had to be modern and somehow construable as relevant to Airstream (see point below).    
  • It had to cross-reference existing elements (interior designers refer to this as "repetition", and it's an absolute necessity for successful lay-outs).  This bath mat does that three ways:
  1. The transparent mat echoes the aluminum itself. 
  2. The suction cups pay homage to the rivets in the aluminum (there are rivets on the inside of the Interstate). 
  3. The horizontal slats echo the aluminum mini-blind in the kitchen and the pleated fabric blinds in the rest of the Interstate. 
Here are a few pointers on customizing a bath mat for a space like this:
Everything in our houses (plural - one with wheels, one without) gets a cardboard mock-up prior to being constructed.  That way, I can get the dimensions just the way I want them before starting work.  
Here is the original bath mat superimposed on the fitted cardboard, so I would know how much to trim off. 
I used a box cutter parallel to the "rattan"...
...and a very sharp pair of craft scissors perpendicular to it, up the side.  The "rattan" pieces are offset shorter and longer at the very edge, so I replicated that look on the trimmed edge.  
I will warn you if you attempt this project, however, that a bath mat was never designed to suction to a curvilinear wall the vertical angle of which actually exceeds 90 degrees, such that not only is the force of gravity pulling the mat down, it's pulling it almost straight off.  It will stick using its suction cups alone, but not very well.  For this reason, I am going to try augmenting the suction cups with this clear children's glue.  Elmer's is well-known for being benign, and of all the adhesive products on the market, I anticipate that it will pose the least risk of permanently marking the wall in any undesirable way.  
Note that there are additional choices of mats available.  They generally cost between $10 and $20 apiece.
For instance if your Airstream theme is retro, there are some interesting versions that could be compatible with a 1950's style and color scheme.   
As usual, this is a noncommercial post presenting personal opinions only.  No retailer has furnished any consideration in exchange for being cited.
Art humor.  

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