My dad made things. He still does even though he is much slower. When I was a kid, he made normal things that were a bit different.
He made a divider for the living room. It created a sort of foyer. It went from the floor to the ceiling (about 8 feet tall). The lower section he put lights in. I don’t even know how because this was the 70s. One side of this section was wood and the other was an opaque textured plastic. The lights would glow in diffused circles of color.
The upper half of the divider was in three sections. The two end sections had painted chicken wire and a flat wood container holding dried grasses. The middle piece was solid. It’s hard to describe, but I didn’t know anyone with anything like it.
Later, he made lamps. First he took a board about two inches thick and three feet tall. He made a base so the board would stand up. And he cut out varied blobby shapes up and down the board. He then made lamp shades with many one-inch wide slats of wood going straight up and down around the board. I’ve no idea how he attached everything. I wish I had pictures, but these were the days before everyone took pictures of everything. No one had lamps like these.
Guests (though we actually rarely had guests) would either act impressed or baffled. I never thought much about this until one particular individual stood in the doorway and paused, and suddenly I felt as if I were looking at our home for the first time, and the lamps that worked really well were also really odd. As a teenager, I had mixed feelings about this.
He built dressers, stools, bird cages, children’s toys, tables and chairs. Not one thing looked like something we’d have seen in the Sears catalogue. He drew sketches of things and then made them.
Dad taught himself ice carving. I don’t even know why. Dad doesn’t like to explain the why of anything. I think someone at work asked him if he could make an ice carving, and he said yes.
The spare bedroom had stacks of drawings on huge swaths of butcher paper. I’m pretty sure those ice carvings paid for college. He also made things out of cheese, fruit, and vegetables.
I always thought my dad was talented and creative, but I never wondered what inspired him or if he wanted to do more. If I’d asked, it’s unlikely he’d have told me. He’s creative in not giving answers too.
I look around my work space and think, yes, I am definitely his daughter.
Thanks for reading.