Rainy Day Projects In an Arts & Crafts Office
Give me a long weekend, a son home from college without a summer job and a forecast laden with rain, and I can come up with a long list of projects in my office.
At the top of this week’s list came the task of pulling every book I own off the shelves of eight bookcases, sorting them into categories and putting them back into the bookcases in some sort of a reasonable order that will enable me to find a particular book when I need it.
Growing up in the pre-computer age (my son considers that the same as pre-historic), I have an affinity for the printed page. Add to that a degree in English literature, a high school teaching certificate and a natural instinct toward collecting (matchbook covers, baseball cards, stamps, coins and sweaty tennis shoes have been my focus at different times in my life, the tennis shoes most recently) and you get an idea of how easy it is for me to buy ‘just one more’ book – and how difficult it is for me to admit that I just might not ever need The Encyclopedia of English Period Furniture Designs.
I assigned to my son the task of pulling each book down, reading the title and attempting to determine what category it fell under. What seemed a simple task to me soon led to some rather testy exchanges as my son attempted (half-heartedly, after about an hour or so) to decipher my thinking. Among his questions came the following:
“So, does Making Rustic Furniture go under ‘Furniture’ or under ‘Rustic’ or under ‘Woodworking’?”
“Where do you want The Art of the Frame? Under ‘Art’ or ‘Woodworking’?”
“Does Greene & Greene go under ‘Furniture’ or under ‘Architecture’?”
“What’s Byrdcliffe – and where does it belong?”
Naturally, it would have been easier to tackle this job myself, but then it would have taken me two weeks to do what he did in one afternoon. He only read the titles. I would have sat on the floor and read entire books.
Toward the end of the day, however, I knew we had made some progress when he announced, “I assume a copy of The Fra goes under the ‘Roycrofters,’ right, Dad?”
“I got the Limbert because there’s picture of a chair on front of it.”
“So, what’s a Byrdcliffe?”
“Read the book.”
“Can’t I just Google it?”
Turns out you can – and you get 39,400 results in .09 seconds.
I’m still going to keep my book.
It just feels good.