|'Milkman' folk sculpture|
©robin r kent
When I grew up I found myself still as the companion in hardware store stops. My energy immediately drained when we hit the threshold. It was a man's world in my mind. Let's get outta here. How boring.
But as I grew into creating contemporary folk art, I found I was missing the tools and thing-ys needed to make the wood sculpture and assemblages do what I wanted. I gradually understood those thing-ys had names and functions.
Come to think of it, the workbench in my family's basement belonged to my grandmother. She was the daughter of a Swedish boatbuilder turned carpenter. Must have some of that dna. My favorite childhood toy was the wooden cobbler's shoe: you'd bang the (colorfully painted) dowels down into the sole and then flip it over and hammer again.
|Self Portrait with Tools|
©robin r kent
I started to notice what a difference 1/4 inch of a screw length can make when it bores into your palm. Or how a dull bandsaw blade can set off the fire alarm without any notice.* And the classic purple thumbnail caused by a misguided hammer, or my favorite moniker for it's cousin: 'the persuader'. No wonder they call some folk art 'naif' or 'naive art' and 'art brut.' Not boring at all.
My bookkeeper thinks it funny that under 'Artist Supplies' I have the following listed:
band saw blades, exterior screws, fastener bits, panel nails, washers, baling wire. Well, bailing wire in Vermont, anyway. All these little silver thing-ys have a function. When I see them now in their boxes hanging on the store display, I can picture them already doing their job.
Glad to be part of a profession where some of it's skill comes from evolution and intuition. How 'bout you?
*It lends an atmospheric mood to the shop with low hanging clouds of smoke - a similar ambience can be found in my kitchen while I sear a steak in a cast iron pan.)