Last summer I went to visit my Grandfather at the old family farm in Collins, Mississippi. I never grew up there but always visited, and it holds special memories for me. I always heard stories from my father of his time as a young lad and teen working on the Collins farm. A number of those stories involved my father setting and replacing fence posts all over the property. The last time I was there my grandfather gave me one of the old fence posts from the farm. It is an osage post of who knows how old. Old enough for the sap wood of the tree to rot or erode away. I like to think that maybe my Grandfather put one of these in the ground. I instantly knew that I wanted to build a shop stool out of some of this wood- an object my kids would remember and that I would use daily.
Years ago on a separate trip to my Grandfather’s he threw an old tractor seat in the back of my truck and said it was from the tractor my Dad learned to drive on. It had been left outside in the weather probably ever since he was a kid. I ended up leaving it in the bed of my truck for a couple of years and thought at one point I had thrown it away. But I found it around the same time as the post was given to me. It seemed like a perfect fit. It got me thinking about the generations of knowledge, story, and objects that we pass down; and through our families. How interesting it is for objects and materials to hold memory and heritage.
Often times I think of the memories I am curating and creating for my children. I am so curious what they will hold onto and what they will let go of. I have made a number of their toys, furnishings, and had special times with them in the shop. But this stool is something different. It is a place to work and rest that holds the history of my family and of a specific place.
I was able to add to the stool walnut that I harvested in Georgetown Kentucky, a place we have come to call home. The osage of my Grandfather, the seat of my Father, and the hand-threaded center post and supports from our walnut, come together to form a story that I hope my children can add to one day.