When I was a little I found myself wanting to be near whatever project my dad was working on. His father was a carpenter and while my dad never thought he did anything right or good enough (duh that's where that comes from), he did trudge on. I'm not sure, but I think he did these household projects more to save money and to have something to do rather than some innate love of creating. I can recall his dread of redoing a room or having to scrape the paint off the house to repaint it. He did some pretty creative things, rebuilding the alleyway garage, building a picnic table that went around a tree as well as making a rec room in the once dank, dark basement.
My father never let me help or get involved (at least I have no memory of it) and I would sit on ladders and watch him. I would sit on the ground and watch. I always wanted to be near whatever it was he was doing. I loved going into the basement and looking at his dusty musty shelves filled with tools and baby jars of nails and screws. It wasn't until I was in my mid 30's that I even conceived of buying and using any tools. I had a gay couple who were massage clients, they were the first women I ever knew who actually built things and knew how to use tools. It occurred to me that I could install locks, windows and attempt to fix plumbing problems myself (with their help and guidance). I didn't get into anything very serious and usually couldn't do most things because my arms and hands were too weak and injured from all that massage work. It didn't stop me from trying but it kept me from accomplishing much. I think I bought a hand drill but didn't even understand how to put the bit in let alone use it. Can you believe it????
So fast forward to now, just a few years ago I started getting and using tools. I'm still excited each and every time I go cut, grind, chop or drill something. I get jittery and happy like a dog who knows he is going for a walk. Even just cutting a board in half feels like magic to me! I guess that is a sign that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing. For all the ick, the inconvenience of how my tools are stuffed in the corner of the garage, for the antiquity of some of my tools and their less than perfect performance, for all the noise and grit and grime, I always feel like I am inventing the wheel each time I go use them. I suppose a painter feels the same about paint and colour, but do they get excited about the tools they use? Does a textile artist get excited about a sewing machine each and every time? (i'm guessing yes on that one) For the little I use paint I also get excited when I sit down and guess which colors to mix to match a bauble that I'm working with. It feels like science and magic happening each and every time but dare I say I don't shake in anticipation over what brush to paint with. Sometimes I wish I had my shit together earlier in life, I often wonder if I could have been an architect as I am fascinated by how things get built. Guess I will just keep plugging away and see where my tools take me.
Whats it feel like when you work with your mediums' tools?