Friday, January 25, 2013

Officially 'Stumped'

On the path of discovery in this, my bead mania and jewelry obsession, I found that being able to work in metals delighted me on many levels. The hammers, the files, the feel of cold metal as yet unformed, unmarked beckoned to me to leave my mark, to make it personal.

Enter the tree stump.  A tree stump is perfect for pounding away, creating textures, work hardening, forming and bending metals to fit the imagination.  Reading about one somewhere once, I had determined that it was just what I needed, given that anytime I tried to pound on the work table, everything would jump and rearrange itself.  I have been patiently waiting for just the right one to present itself. (Literally, as in a *present*)

A couple of months ago, while walking the dogs, we meandered by a house built about 1920.  In the front yard, a Magnolia tree, forked at the base. It stood about 40 feet tall.  One side of it had spread it's branches far too close to the electric lines, so the City was cutting it down. Not back; Down.  I was saddened by the loss, but speculative about the chance to get a hunk of wood. Nay, not a hunk, a stump.  I promised myself to go back later in the day to check on the progress.  Alas, when I went back, it was all over and the local team of caretakers had done their work well.  There was nary a stick left. Bummer.

A few days later, similar treck, same dogs finds two men taking down the other half of the tree.  It seems once the first aspect was removed, the other had started leaning precariously toward the house.  The balance had been broken.  Like many things in life, balance is a necessity. Two function as one made whole.

I find I must digress here as the story takes an interesting twist.  To whit:  when we moved about 6 months ago, we down sized rather dramatically.  It was not hard to figure out what we could do without as we made a simply decision to only keep those things that are necessary or that we love. What did become a challenge was to make all those decisions so quickly.  After we arrived here, we found that there were things that followed us in the move that just never were noticed for that process.  After arriving and going through all the basics and the boxes, we began to find those items, once loved, not necessary and yes, still here.  Not really sure in a new town just what to do with them, my husband said that he thought we should just put them out at the end of the driveway.  I thought this a remarkable thought in and of itself.  What??  Leave my now un-wanted and un-loved things on the edge of the street?  I agreed, but only if he promised to do something with these things on Saturday as I was resolute in thinking they would still be sitting there, becoming eyesores. 

That Saturday never came. Those things were gone. Snagged in the night by others with a new vision of purpose, a new sort of life to be born.  I was amazed!  No trips to search for thrift stores or hauling it to a donation center.  It was nothing short of miraculous to me.  Undaunted, the next week we left out some garden decorations.  Gone in the morning.  Old bookcase and shelf left in the house by the last occupants....gone. 

Back to the story.  As it turned out, the two young men cutting down the second fork of the Magnolia tree were the son and nephew of the woman who resides in the house.  We spoke and I gently inquired into the fate of the tree. The smaller branches were going to be used for firewood, but the main tree was 15-18 inches in diameter and far too large for a fireplace. They weren't quite sure just what to do with that part.  I plucked up my courage and asked if I could have a piece, and explained what use I intended for so lovely a tree stump. 

They offered me the tree stump, free of charge when they found out where we live. They are the same two guys who acquired two garden griffon statues that had made their way to our curb.  Those who say that life doesn't move in circles, surely need to leave something out on their curb.  I dare you to try it.

So now I am the owner of a lovely Magnolia tree stump. 

 It is something!  It weighs about 60 pounds.  Being fresh cut, it is going to have to do some curing and drying out.  It became apparent that I would need to find a way to keep it lifted off of the floor to get good air circulation, and to be able to place something under it in case sap or water might drip as it dried.  Finding something that would hold that kind of weight was going to be a challenge.  To my mind, I guessed some sort of grating would be required.  An internet search connected me to the McNichols Company, specialists in grating.  The have pictures of unusual applications all over their website, so I filled out the internet contact form and waited for a call.

It didn't take long.  I spoke with one of their representatives who was so professional and kind and while I'm guessing, a bit bemused at the intended application, never let on that this was not a do-able proposition.  When he told me they could even cut the recommended grating in a circle, I was without exaggeration, duly impressed.

Transaction completed, the package arrived a day later! 

And here was my new support system...

Is that precision or WHAT????  I was amazed also with how perfectly flat and even the whole unit is, too.  The following day I cleaned, organized the studio and found a little yellow rug to place under the whole she-bang.  Blessings are happening here!

Now, isn't that impressive?? 

No time for further chat....I feel a need to give it a pounding!

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