The past couple of years have encompassed a whole lot of change and a largely absent blogger (sorry about that!), but everything still comes back to “sneaky preservation” on this blog. By “sneaky preservation,” I just mean converting the masses without beating them over the head with preservation ethics, the word “cornice,” and a sermon involving the f-bomb when describing the abomination that is vinyl window replacement. I prefer to be sneaky. Yet passionate. It works better.
Through a few random turns and a repair clinic I started with a friend, I’ve been nudged further into hands-on initiatives and just launched a blog called ToolMade.org that basically embraces the Ruskinian belief that to have quality of life is to have a toiling life. Ohhhhh, how true it is! How sweet the hammer be! To be regularly inconvenienced and to grow callouses is to be invigorated, better educated, and proud, damnit. Convenience takes away so many opportunities to be creative and find out who you are and how the world works.
I know a lot of this was already said by that guy who wrote Shop Class as Soulcraft (the subject of a 2009 New York Times article that honestly smashed open my mind to a whole lot of possibilities and even quoted one of my favorite Marge Piercy poems–bam!), but I feel I offer a different perspective as a proud preservationist and as someone who is not a misogynist. I’m just saying.
While ToolMade isn’t a preservation blog in the conventional sense, it’s something I want to share on this blog and it’s honestly got me really wanting to write on GreenPreservationist again. Done lit a fire under me, truly. To not become part of this growing movement of hundreds of thousands of people wanting to get their hands dirty and learn trades (yes, hundreds of thousands—this is huge), is to miss an obvious and important opportunity to forge a new kind of preservationist. These are the people who will fix our buildings in ten years. Or now, even. Or decide whether they want to build something new or proudly declare their love of the dark traces of spalting in wood grain.
So, please read this blog if :
- you believe that people benefit from learning the trades.
- you believe that the preservation movement would benefit in countless ways from having more skilled craftsmen.
- you want to hear more about the movement of makers, fixers, hackers, etc. erupting as a response to a general dissatisfaction with our virtual lives (ignore the hypocrisy of this being a blog, please).
- you want to hear about the resurrection of some dying trades (or about what trades are dying and need help).
- you like hilarious 90s references. (I’ll deliver.)
With that, I leave you with the opening blog entry, which I hope you’ll read and comment on. I’ve missed all y’all. Thanks for reading and for working hard to save all the things.