To and from The Tool Pool: Our Gold Watch

The Goodbye Brick

Noel and I just returned from 15 days and our last teach-a-thon at The Guild School in Castine, Me, and our last class ever. The School and Castine were their usual lovely selves and difficult to say goodbye to. I am hoping some of you will email me photos for future postings about the school. We thank everyone in attendance for their good wishes, the wonderful flowers that graced our as-always messy classroom, the keepsake album, and best of all, our very own brick, signed in gold by the ever-ready Tool Pool! Special thanks go to Pete and Pam Boorum for packing and shipping up both the album and The Brick. We are in your debt…

Flowers in the classroom

The Tool Pool (currently composed of the Boorums, Dick & Carol Hardy, and Elizabeth Gazmuri) is a stellar group that purchases, repairs, oversees and stores untold numbers of tools and appliances for the Guild classrooms—metal and woodworking lathes, shapers, planers, drills, kilns, dryers, etc., along with the accompanying heavy-duty orange extension cords, clamps, chucks, bits and plastic buckets. They’re a volunteer staff who make sure everything is tip-top and delivered to the right classrooms each June. And each June they present, in vain, an amusing little skit for the faculty on how to re-coil the heavy-duty orange extension cords so that they aren’t in a snarl for next year. Then they stay after school to pack it all up, re-coil the extension cords and run inventory. In the dead of winter they return to Maine for cleaning, repairs, replacements and to make sure the Academy hasn’t stashed them somewhere where they won’t be found again in June. And all this is in addition to their duties as teachers and students.

Midnight Brick Supply: Maine Maritime Student Center

The Brick was one of 12 we used as classroom weights and props for most of our twenty-eight years at the school. They also happened to be borrowed from an Academy (Maine Maritime, where the school takes place) building project, as replacements for the rocks we’d formerly gathered from a nearby beach and returned at the end of each school session. When we decided to box and store them, the bricks became bones of contention with a few individuals in charge (present leadership not included), not to mention The Tool Pool, charged with hauling them around for us. Once we proved they were actual tools–necessary for our students–the irritation turned to good-natured (we imagine) ribbing as to the primitive nature of our “tools.” Nonetheless, they remained gritty, scruffy, duct-tape-wrapped boxes of dead weight. But, hey, who’s to say a brick is lower in stature than a toaster oven? Or a heavy-duty orange extension cord.

The brick now joins other more glamorous awards and acknowledgements on our mantel, and we send special thanks to all of you who have toiled for so many years to keep us in bricks, buckets and band-aids. Considering that someone paid $90.00 for one of the bricks at auction, we know how highly you value us…

About smallhousepress

In 1974, my husband Noel and I began building aged miniature houses for collectors and museums. We were 70's dropouts. We quit our careers in advertising--art director and writer, respectively--and escaped Los Angeles in a VW camper and a Bug for a simpler life on the coast of Washington State. From a tiny studio in our home, we built 64 houses and buildings. Our specialty was aging--making a structure that reflected the scars and wrinkles of time, the elements, and human habitation. In the 80s we began teaching our techniques in workshops around the country, and I began to write our how-to's in Nutshell News and Miniature Collector. In 2000 we migrated across the Columbia to Astoria, OR, where , in 2011, we retired from miniatures. We are Fellows of the International Guild of Miniature Artisans and taught at their annual school in Castine, ME. By avocation I am a writer and poet. The blog is my way of working back into a writing routine, as well as recording what we did, and what we learned along the way.
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1 Response to To and from The Tool Pool: Our Gold Watch

  1. Barbara Ann Shields says:

    I do so love and admire your work! Barbara Ann

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