Mar 31, 2009

tiny tool

On the Norwegian side of my family, I had some gay uncles, brothers, Teddy and Jolmer. They lived by a lake in Minnesota, down the road from their sister Ruth. Teddy played rousing, dramatic songs on the organ and cooked, and Jolmer carved and fixed things. All three of them fished. They are who I think of when I hear Le Tigre's Les and Ray, even though they lived in the country and didn't share walls with anyone.

I guess it's only speculation that they were gay, but they lived together, both single, for their entire lives, two gentle men. I think Ruth had a husband and children at one point, but would have to ask my mom to be sure. She lived alone when I knew her, and mainly just spent time with her brothers.

I only have two tidbits of Jolmer's carving remaining: a tiny basket and a tiny monkey, both carved out of nut shells. For many years, my favorite piece, now lost, was a pair of tiny working pliers. It may be the OCD inside of me that loves so much care put into a tiny nut shell, but I like to think it's just appreciation.

Jolmer's pliers plus my love of hand tools were the reasons I had a little bit of weakness for "tool" jewelry when it became popular. But when I saw these tiny tool carvings by jeweler Laurie Brown, I was way more excited & sentimental.

I'm obsessed with craft that is useful, but apparently I can be excited by fragile work that only hints at usefulness!tools from aesthetic outburst.
sporks from andothersuchthings.


emily said...

my mom just bought me one of those sporks!

Majhada said...

That's my bamboo spork! Sneaky of you to spirit it away, clone it and have it pose for your blog all without me noticing.

wintergreens said...

My lovely mother chimed in on this post, but via telephone call rather than comment. She likes her comments to be heard. Here's the deal:

(First, I defend myself by saying that I admitted my memory on this was sketchy.)

Apparently, I swapped Teddy and Jolmer's roles. And Jolmer's name is spelled Hjalmer, a crazy Norwegian spelling I guess I should have assumed. And there was some talk of wallpaper hanging, but don't ask me which brother. Mom didn't mention that they weren't actually my uncles, they were, instead, "uncles," related to me, well, somehow.

What I got out of this conversation was that every detail of the tiny working pliers was RIGHT. The tiny tool, the true subject of the post, is anatomically correct, factual, will hold up in court!