Saturday, August 07, 2010

yards and yards

Today is part of the "yards and yards of yard sales weekend" in Eureka Springs, so people have brought out some of what is normally concealed in the nooks and crannies of their old Victorian cottages so that things can be displayed on sidewalks and yards for a much hoped for dispersal and exchange for cold hard cash. I, too, should be making use of the opportunity to get rid of stuff. I did, in fact, give some rustic tables to the school, that were sold in today's yard sale, making room in my shop for more efficient work.

How much of what we have is meaningful, and why? I visited with a friend about an old chair made by his mother's great grandfather, needing repair. It is an easy fix, re-gluing two tenons that should give it life for another 150 years or so.

In the meantime, across the street, we are selling antique chairs that were donated to Clear Spring School. They were made in that time period in which chair makers had transitioned from mortise and tenon joints to dowels. The chairs are good for as long as you can get them to last, but hardly worth the time required to make repairs. An antique dealer told me we could maybe sell them for $25.00 each or we could spend about an hour fixing each one and sell it for $25.00.

There is a difference between well-made-to-last objects, and made-to-last-til-they're broken un-fixable objects that fill our lives to the point at which one yard sale master/seller's sign entreated, "Please rescue me from hoarding!"

In the meantime, my daughter Lucy is in Ghana with just a few personal things, clothing and bedroll, while she teaches chemistry, biology and builds latrines. A rich life in contrast to a life with cheap stuff.

Some in the world are shopping for cheap stuff, and more of it. And those of us with too much stuff are taking inventory of our own lives, drawing new boundaries. The true value of stuff lies, not in the having of it, the keeping of it, but in the confidence that arises from making it as we ourselves are recast as makers, not consumers.

Homo habilis
was an early ancestor of man, these days growing still more extinct. Habilis was the first maker of stone tools and the term habilis means handy or skilled.

Make, cook, fix, sew, plant, mend, create, recreate self as habilis. did you know that habilis is the Latin word for sloyd?

As you can see in the photo above, I am nearing completion of the cherry shaker cabinet. Next will be dowels to lock parts together, pulls, shelves, turn latch and finish.

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