We’ve done a lot of out of the ordinary things, but perhaps one of the most unusual was a fishing fly done for a little library in Kingsley, MI.
But this isn’t just some little tied fly. Len Halladay, a Mayfield Township resident, tied a very special fly for his then friend, Judge Adams. The fishing fly – knows as the Adams’ Fly – would be used around the world, even today. McMillen’s had an original fly – tied by Len, and attached to a note for the judge – and a community that wanted to showcase it in their new library.
How do you make something that can sit on the surface of a dime look so important? We decided to tell the story within the box. We used are local artisan and house calligrapher, Sharron Kelly, to do the drawings and the headlines, and built a multi-level box using surfaces of museum glass.
The box started at 18 x 24 in size, and was built from the background, forward. The first level and backing board we created a water like environment using cat tails and river stones, and laid a piece of museum glass over it; in level 2, we attached notes and description about our piece, and covered it, too, with a spacer and museum glass. And on our last “little environment”, our Adams fly, hooked into it’s 3×5 card explaining the gift in Holiday’s writing, was floated with the smallest of museum tape right to the glass (Easy to do when your subject matter weighs less than a gram!)
So, all three design elements – the back ground, the drawings and explanation, and the fly itself – all have it’s own compartment within the frame, and each can be gotten to easily through the back.
The piece was hung in a low light area, and away from any type of direct sunlight. The biggest thing the framer wonders about with this project? Well, it’s NOT fading – every precaution was taken. The piece is stable, locked and secured, and is wonderful to view upon a visit to the library. But I wonder about those little natural fibers, wrapped around that metal fishing hook. Should I have used some special “gas” – like a moth ball – to insure it would be OK? That would defeat the purpose of it’s preservation, with the environment we created. I asked all over…no one seemed to know….
Every couple of months, I go out to the Kingsley Library, go to the very back wall, and visit my tiny friend to check up on him. After all this time, he is still as pristine as the day he was hung. It’s a service that a small time framer can offer his clients, versus a box/craft store.
Through a VERY long process of committee decision making, once agreed upon, the actual job to create this prized piece really only took a good full day, and costs around $790. The fly is featured on the town’s website, and draws people from all around the country to see this one of a kind tribute.