Library of Keaven
I cannot say how much importance I place on my library, and how often I use it. I am one of those people who keeps everything that I find amusing or interesting; old notebooks, funny magazine ads, quotes, photos, jokes, lyrics, etc. I have countless old journals, diaries and sketchbooks, all filled with things that I will probably never need to know again, but still enjoy perusing from time to time.
I have always loved writing and thought many times about being a writer when I “grew up.” When I was a teenager I fantasized over adventure-filled magazine pages, dreaming of one day being a traveling photojournalist, working for National Geographic (of course), and skipping about the globe snapping award-winning photos to pair with my witty observations. I even began school as an intended photography major…but we all know how that turned out.
Throughout my life books have been my constant companion, and writing seemed to go along with the territory. After reading a particularly excellent piece of fiction – Margaret Atwood is a personal favorite – I would be so inspired and would write for days. At the age of 14 I started a diary that I still keep today; I am currently on journal number 18, and have filled thousands of pages with my silly, naive, and mostly adolescent thoughts.
In my studio I have only the books that matter the most to my practice, and this collection is always growing. We have a library room upstairs, now that my office has vacated the sunroom, and I intend to keep the majority of our books together in that well-lit and warmth-filled room: it is the perfect place to curl up and read for hours on lazy days (if I ever have one of those again).
The books in my studio are on Interior Design, Furniture Restoration, Refurbishment, and Design, Sewing, Knitting, Needlepoint, Upholstery, Leather Working, Quilting, Woodworking, Wood, Architecture, Craft History, and Craft Theory. I also have a large collection of some of my favorite Maine Home & Design issues (aka: as many as I could lay my hands on – they are all my “favorites”). I also have a book written by me, about my sofa upholstery project.
Currently I am reading a book called At Home: A Short History of Private Life, by Bill Bryson. It’s fantastic. He’s a genius; funny, interesting, and incredibly, almost unbelievably, knowledgeable. Look it up, if you’re at all interested in learning things like: when the word “chair” was first used, what the cost of the most expensive building ever built was, who the greatest unsung heroes of invention were, what every aspect of any house was originally intended for, etc. One of the things that I love most about this book is that it is full of random tidbits – answers that we would all want to know, if we just thought to ask the questions in the first place:
“In humbler dwellings, matters were generally about as simple as they could be. The dining table was a plain board called by that name. It was hung on the wall when not in use, and was perched on the diners’ knees when food was served. Over time, the word board came to signify not just the dining surface but the meal itself, which is where the board comes from in room and board.“
I love learning things like this. I am always eager for new books, and am open to suggestions!