I can’t call Monday’s post Monday, Monday every week. And I would like to be posting on other days beside Monday but life is full! I’m living it, not writing about it…which is the preferable option. Writing does help me to reflect on things though. And today I am reflecting on my tools-large and small.
Tory Hughes, in her Creative Development Manual talks about taking care of the big tools- body, mind, heart and spirit-the tools that you use to navigate the ebb and flow of energy that you use for creative action. She says by taking care of your tools, you’ll prosper physically and emotionally. You’ll have mastered a common challenge: how to stay present in our minds and bodies when we are surrounded by a culture telling us to flee from our experience. Being mindful. Then she provides some great ideas about doing just that!
I love Lindly Haunani’s quote about (small) tools from Polymer Clay Master Class (Belcher, Honaman 2013) when she says I often tell my students that you really only need four tools to work with polymer: a large white work surface, a sharp cutting blade, a good pasta machine, and – most important – a magical sense of possiblilty. It’s funny that I have eight running feet of five-foot-high drawers full of tools!
While my tool supply is not as extensive as Lindly’s, I have said the same thing in classes and then come home to my tool stash and appreciated the irony! Fortunately you can make many polymer tools from found objects. While some of the ones pictured here are designated polymer tools others are tip treasures, some come from a hardware store and some are from a jazzy little kit I picked up from a bloke roaming the streets of Thamel in Kathmandu. He promised I’d be able to make wonderful dainty stamps on my skin with them and demonstrated the technique. Something was lost in translation and I was never able to get mine looking like his but geez they make GREAT impression tools!
Another favourite quote about tools comes from a book I am rereading and loving again after many years…Sue Bender’s book Plain and Simple. Tino, a sculptor, poet and wise man from Sardinia says satisfaction is the enjoyment of every step in the process of doing; everything, not only the isolated piece we label art. If accomplishing is the only goal, all that it takes to reach that goal is too slow, too fatiguing- an obstacle to what you want to achieve. If you want to rush the the accomplishment, it is inevitable disappointment. Then you rush to something else. The disappointment is reaped over and over again. But if every step is pleasant, then the accomplishment becomes even more, because it is nourished by what is going on. I needed to read these words.
He goes on to say No one gets paid for keeping his own tools cleaned. It is an act of real art; otherwise you don’t have rapport with the tool; then it becomes a rebellious servant, not respected, not properly handled. If you don’t appreciate its weight and become aware of its balance, one day or another it is going to hit your finger! I think it was knowing this, at a deep intuitive level, that prompted me to start respecting my tools. To make them objects of beauty AND function, to create a beautiful place for them to be stored. They are lovely to look at, nice to handle and I’d rather fancy wearing a couple of them!