Climbing and tripping my husband up on a little rise in the earth to attend the opening of the “Envisioning O’Keeffe” exhibition at Columbia College the other night, a friend questioned me about my favorite tools.  Gobsmacked, nothing came out of my mouth.

You know, she said.  When you were creating all your textiles, the needle was your favorite tool.  What is now?  Now that you are working differently?  I still had nothing to add to the conversation.

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The needle was certainly my friend when it came to applying stitches to this crazy quilt of a fabric base also created by a needle in the sewing machine.  It was a means by which a message came forth.  And once in a while a needle would last for years. I would notice that.  In the piece above, my notation says that “Film Noir” was the 39th piece done in 1998.  Whew.  If a needle survived a couple of years, that is a lot of stitching.  Then, it simply snapped, which always was a surprise:  What the hell?!

Not having my mind on the means, but only on the satisfactory end, tools do not mean much to me.  Would that I could snap my fingers and chair rail would merge with window edge.  When my husband and I were dating, he would talk about “faith in tools”.  He is ga-ga about tools.  Observing this in him, our contrast is great.

One of my girlfriends is much the like Glenn.  I have seen her work through a tiny tooled process when pruning shrubs  here with great interest:  How can that shuffle possibly make the slightest difference?

And then there are the “Car Talk” guys.  They celebrate an opportunity to buy a new tool.  Not me.  That just makes my overhead higher.

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Above is my piece for the “Envisioning O’keeffe” exhibition.  The piece, called “College Bound” tries to discuss what I know about Georgia O’keeffe’s brief history at the institution of Columbia College, as well as my own.  The best thing about my history there is that it got me here to South Carolina. That is huge.

This piece practically made itself, and required many tools.  Even a needle.  These shoes were worse for wear and yawned in the middles.  I made neat zig zag stitches to hold their sides together.  In the image below you can see the tiny tails at the middle of each shoe.

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Perhaps finding elements for a piece is the most pleasurable for me.  Broken scissors, a line of copper from the sash of a window with the nails still intact, antlers sacrificed from the house, a wooden spoon that cradles and contrasts with the line of the shoe:  this is what gets my blood racing.

Envisioning O'keeffe

Above is the piece in situ.

Finally, after much thinking, I have an answer for my favorite tool.  Along with all the skills with wood I have learned from my husband, my answer is “gravity”.  Gravity is my favorite tool, and being cognizant of it makes lots of jobs much easier.

What is your favorite tool?

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