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An Unusual Day

October 22, 2011

I am a creature of habit. I enjoy my routine. I normally go to the farm Saturday morning and hang around there for a few hours. When one o’clock rolls around I begin to get antsy to get going, even though I really enjoy being there. I rarely stick around past two. But today was different. First of all, I didn’t even get started going down there till 12:30. So, I didn’t open my shop until 1:30. When I got there I noticed something very exciting. Renovation work has begun on the two other barns in the little three barn complex that my shop belongs to. The first barn is the ice barn.

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My father currently uses it to store excess furniture, but my great grandparents stored their ice in the ice house all summer. It was collected from the ice pond (I should get a picture, it’s one of the prettiest spots on the whole farm). Up until the thirties they continued to cut ice and store it. The crew would go out onto planks on the ice and drill a hole and then insert long handled ice saws with enormous teeth and cut the ice into great blocks which they pulled onto sleds with the help of oxen. These were drawn back to the barnyard and loaded into the ice house. The ice house was the only barn with double walled construction for insulation. This makes then particularly appealing to the squirrels who live safely within its walls. Saw dust was applied between layers of ice as further insulation, and the ice lasted all summer and fall and until they could refill it the following winter. When I was in my teens my brother and I replaced the clapboards on the back. This was about as easy as any clapboarding job could be as there were no windows and it was just once great uninterrupted expanse of wall. But it was also one of my first big construction jobs and I was not particularly skilled with a hammer. Standing on the ladder and holding the clapboard in one hand, many was the time I missed the nail and smashed a clapboard, necessitating its removal and replacement. My temper frequently got the better of me, and innocent clapboards paid the price.
The other building which is being worked on is the studio. This is were my grandfather (Richardson Charles White) did is sculpting. The studio now functions as an office space for the Friends of Holly Hill Farm . When it was a studio, it was a magical place. It smelled of modelling clay and old magazines. There were cabinets filled with his sculpting tools and chemicals for coloring the finished bronze sculptures. Every square inch of wall space was covered in photos and sketches of horses, except…there were two vast canvases. These were portraits of my grandfather’s grandparents. It has always been a mystery to me why these were here. They were huge, and would not have fit easily into his house, although his house was not small by any means. Even so, it seemed an esteemed location, staring down upon him as he worked. I don’t know much about the nature of his feelings towards his grandparents. About the only thing he told me about them was that they visited Austria in the late 1800’s and because she had liked it so much they stayed for years. To pay for this they had to sell many many acres of land they had owned in Cohasset, including what is now the town beach. (He always made a point of noting that we still retain the right to harvest seaweed from the beach for fertilizing the fields.) Whenever he related this story, there was a definite sense of terrible loss, and I got the distinct impression that he held his grandmother particularly responsible.
Anyway, I am thrilled that these barns are getting renovated.
The other unusual this that happened today is that I sold several pieces of furniture. I have never sold more than one piece when not at a craft fair, so this was different. I sold

Cedar bench

New table that I am very excited about.

these two pieces and a couple more. And it is a crazy thing, but it is very hard to see them go. They are all different, and not only do I get attached to them, but I have this crazy fear that someone will buy them all and then I will have nothing left to sell. I guess I am not exactly imbued with the entrepreneurial spirit. Perhaps I am not in the habit of selling my work. But I do hope that people will enjoy my stuff, and I suppose it means I had better get to work preparing for the Holly Day sale in December.

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 29, 2011 8:23 pm

    I feel the same way about selling things, and I know other artists who do too … there are certain pieces they are sorry to part with even though they want the material support for their work. So, anyway, congratulations, and I hope there will be other pieces and other
    sales soon. love, Ma

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