When I (you) die, what will happen to my (your) tools and jewelry?
Many of us Orchidians are of an age when mortality is more in our
consciousness, but how many of us have made any real provisions
for the inevitable?
This is anecdotal but may be of interest.
As an inveterate hoarder my house and workshop are crammed full of
stuff that is often intrinsically worthless but may be valuable to
others. Like that specially shaped piece of wood, or acrylic formers
from student days.
Two stories here:
Ten years ago, I had to clear the house where my family had lived
for 75 years, from my great-grandmother down to me in teenage years.
Only a small Victorian terrace, but crammed with stuff, mainly junk.
I swear it hadn’t had a proper clean for nearly 20 years! This was a
most depressing job, but I felt the need to go through everything I
could in the 3 weeks I had. One third went to auction, one third in a
skip which was regularly raided (good) by the neighbours, and one
third to my small house. There was a veritable archive of family
letters and photos, which I still have, also things like my mother’s
1964 salad spinner in daily use. Upshot was, I vowed to go through my
house completely every 2-3 years to save my daughter from this
nightmare. No, of course I haven’t…
The best thing from all this for my own work was finding a huge
number of obsolete keys which I used in a one-off exhibition piece
called “unchastity belt” - good to make, and important to me for many
reasons, including family memories.
My grandfather’s house tools are still in regular use too.
The other story: someone told me the local auction house had a kiln
for sale, and I left a bid which won (must have been the only bid) I
thought the lot was the kiln and a few tools, but ended up with the
entire contents of an enamelling jeweller’s workshop - a Mrs EC
Fraser who had been a student in the 1940s and had obviously died at
a grand old age. Everything from exquisite swiss riffler files, a
collection of about 50 bottles of lump enamel, loads of books, thin
sheet silver, semi-precious stones, asbestos ring soldering supports
(shudder) down to a set of spoon stakes still waxed, unfinished
plique pieces, and her (slightly spooky) spectacles. This turned up
for me during a lean period, and was a huge gift. I have christened
her “Auntie Etta” and her memory now lives in the workshop. Most days
I use a tool or materials from this treasure.
A longish story, but tools should always always be passed on to
someone who needs them. As Allan says, the local club or college, or
a professional colleague, whether sold or gifted
Despite the glorious mess, intrinsically valuable materials are kept
together in my workshop, and it is important to separate base metals
out when putting into “deep storage” at the backs of the cupboards.
As for finished work, though, that is a completely different thing,
and it will be interesting to read suggestions.
“Geniuses thrive on clutter” but unfortunately my clutter does not
make me a genius.