My father is one of those who began drinking gin martinis in college, you know, back in the 1950’s, smoking a pipe, wearing a coat with the patches on the elbows. It was the rage of the time. Later, when I was becoming of legal age, I fondly remember mixing him drinks where I would splash vermouth over the top only, or just say the words over the glass.
I remember sitting around with my father on one of the many fishing trips to Chincoteague Island, VA. The day was done, and we were regaling in our daily pack of lies, otherwise known as the fish stories of the day. He and I sat around drinking “martinis” made his way…no vermouth. I thought I would die. Talk about harsh.
In the article, Derek Brown says “when people finally experience a martini with unique and artisanal ingredients, it makes a world of difference”. The whole point of the article is that we Americans have somehow managed to stray from the original composition and intention of the martini.
I think that the furniture world has managed to stray from tried and true practices. When I show people a dovetail or mortise and tenon joint, they are just amazed this sort of joint is still created. The concept of wood from the trees stops people for a moment. When I say walnut, I don’t mean a walnut color, I mean a walnut tree – as furniture makers for centuries have intended it to be. So mix a real drink, and get some real furniture.
A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to visit the Torpedo Factory in Old Town Alexandria. I didn’t realize just how much astonishing talent is in our area. When most people think of DC, they think politics, lobbying, defense contractors, maybe tech or biotech if they’re in the know. I’ve never heard DC described as a great artistic Mecca, but I was truly impressed by the quality of some of the work at the Torpedo Factory. Here are a few of my favorites:
First is Nancy Reinke, a painter and print-maker. Her paintings seem very introspective, but her woodcuts are the real standouts. Would you believe that the above is a woodcut?
Next, Matthew Harwood, whose work just literally cannot be appreciated online so you will just have to visit and see it in person. These extraordinarily detailed drawings and watercolors are three-dimensional. Rather than being a quaint conceit like some I’ve seen though, these really jump off the page, I think due to their stunning level of detail. He’s draftsman-like in his precision.
Carol M. Dupre might not be to everyone’s taste, but if you enjoy M.C. Escher or the collage art of Dave McKean, you should really check out her studio. Again, these have to be seen in person to be believed.
Finally, something completely different: the Enamelists Gallery. A collective of fifteen different artists, this gallery features jewelry, wall hangings, bowls, trays and lots of decorative enamelwork. If you’re into color, the colors of enamel just can’t beat. None of the pictures on the site really picture how wonderful this gallery is.
And our own Mark Gatterdam’s mom, Barbara Gatterdam, has stoneware on display in the Scope Gallery. Such a talented family!
The weekend is coming so get out and take in some of DC’s local art scene. The Torpedo Factory is a great place to start. Just wear comfy shoes because you’ll want to stay all day.
I got into this debate with the twenty something, now officially thirty something, marketing director of ours (Hugs and kisses, Alison). Silly really, but it typifies this ongoing …well, let’s just call it a difference in the way we look at life. She was paying a bill through the company of hers with a fist full of cash. I was curious why she’d choose to use up all her cash rather than pay with a check or some other arrangements with the accounting people. Then it began. The obvious was pointed out…just go to the ATM. Duh! When I pointed out that I did not have an ATM card, and had less interest of getting an ATM card, and that I prefer to go inside the bank and hand my transactions to an actual person, with an actual pulse, I was accused of being a Luddite.
Curt, one of my partners, quickly tried to intervene, only to confess that he too shared my lack of a banking card, and preferred dealing with someone with a pulse rather than something that beeps and burps at you. He took the next barrage of scrutiny, only to slink off slightly bruised. Thanks for taking one for the team, Curt. Us Luddites got to stick together, don’t you know.
The other day we had an oops in the shop, and the solution was to shave the face of the entire cabinet back about ¼”. Not a difficult thing to do in theory, but to actually do it is very difficult. The only way to really do this was by hand…enter Kevin Parker, one of our craftsmen. Kevin has a real passion for hand planes, and all things in the craft that are old timey. So, Kevin was call upon, and he proudly marched over and whittled away on the face of this cabinet for an hour or so, successfully saving both the cabinet and hours of additional time.
Think about this for a minute. Hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars of equipment in our shop, and the best solution to this and many other problems was a $25 hand plane. Who’s the Luddite now, Miss marketing director smarty pants? I’ll bet this internet thing is just a passing fancy, too.