Three handcrafted wooden stools work in our home. Today they tell me to choose a summer that is a mix of work and rest. I struggle to overcome pandemic inertia; canceled events cleared the calendar of interaction but I have commissions to complete.
The white stool was made by my grandfather when I was a toddler. My older sister got one just like it. We sat on them for stories and stood on them to help cook. We probably also used them to reach what we were not to touch. I have used this stool in every home I have lived. Today it works in my kitchen. It reminds me that craftsmanship persists and evolves. The underside of the stool has been reinforced with a metal brace to securely support my adult weight. When my friends at the custom furniture shop made this adjustment for me, they copied the design and created a limited edition of the kitchen stool, one of which works in my daughter Emily’s home.
My husband’s grandfather created the unfinished stool for use in the family cabin’s sauna in northern Wisconsin. We found it as we were sorting through bins in our shed this spring. I plan to paint it and use it for a plant base. It makes me think about punctuation points and summer rest. As a child, Ned remembers sitting on the stool in the sauna and then jumping into the cool lake, a respite from helping Grandma.
A friend gave me the milk stool because I constantly praised its design. I like the juxtaposition of triangle and circle. My childhood summer nights frequently included a visit to the milking parlor to see Dad and the cows. My father’s milk stool was a simple T. We quickly learned to trust the balance between our two legs and the stool as sat on our own milk stools. Today, my milk stool primarily serves as a metaphor for my art practice: the three legs of secular art, sacred art, functional art and the round seat of my artistic voice. The metaphor stool reminds me of what to do. The white stool lets me reach supplies, the sauna stool says to rest as needed. Let’s see what the summer brings!