Sean Ragan tells the maker’s tale of how his friction-only mirror hanger came into being:
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 recogn/ize 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.”