Every time I come home to the UK after a trip back to the States, I shell out sixty bucks at the airport and bring back an extra checked bag full of belongings that have been stashed into closets and basements and under beds. What inevitably follows is a chaotic and crowded unpacking process that resembles a hellish jigsaw puzzle as I try to find homes for more and more objects in a flat which reached capacity eight months ago. Some of these things are relatively rational choices, like the above pile of unbound books from an edition I printed in 2008 and would someday like to finish. Others are less practical. I thought I would take a moment and showcase a few of the things I hauled over the ocean this trip. As you contemplate these objects, you may wonder how I could have gone without them for so long. Alternatively, you might ask what on earth compelled me to drag such a thing such a great distance. I accept both conclusions as fair and true. For your consideration:
My beloved corner rounder. This is my second attempt to bring it over. The first attempt was abandoned after a humiliating overweight baggage display at the check-in counter at the Philadelphia airport.
Michelle Ray’s new book, God Created the Sea and Painted it Blue so We’d Feel Good on it. No one could possibly argue with this one. Look at this book. And then check out Michelle’s website and buy one because this is unbelievable value.
This box of assorted tools, which includes my spokeshave, an extra hand drill, screwdrivers (possibly unnecessary, I agree,) tiny dividers that I bought in England five years ago, took home to New York State and I never used. Also: plumber’s tape, a half inch gouge, pens, thread, unidentified other things.
This box. Plus about seven other boxes made during the series of box making workshops I conducted over the last few weeks.
An industrial light bulb mounted on a block of wood. It’s pretty big. It doesn’t light up. This makes the fifth one that I have tenderly (inexplicably?) brought over in a carry on bag. Made by my friends Amy and Brandon at Miles and May Furniture Works in Geneva, NY. They also make highly impressive and more functional items like tables and beds and chairs.
My brand new copy of Touch: the Vista Sans Wood Type Project. This is an amazing book and an amazing project.
Letterpress Ink in Tubes! A new purchase after some advice from Jessica Spring at the Paper and Book Intensive this year. No website yet, but if you are interested you can email them at Ink[at]orchidesign.com. I haven’t used these yet and I am ready to try.
A gift from my friend David, tiny perfumes nestled into purpose-cut foam and housed in a beautiful box. Fifteen scents plus all of the satisfaction of putting things in their perfect and rightful place. Thank you, David!
My collection of late 19th and early 20th century Baedekers! Quick, can anyone tell me if the Cunard Line, the Canadian Pacific or the Hamburg-America Line offers the best steamship service to London? Oh, wait, here it is. I’ll be fine.
A selection of chemistry glassware that I bought in Minneapolis a few years ago. I know, I know, this seems a little silly. But look how small these are! They don’t take up too much room! How could I leave them?
As of today, each of these things has been lovingly placed in their new home. I’ve finally unpacked and so begins my reentry into my UK life, planning workshops, prepping to teach and gearing up for new projects. Obviously I can’t do that without my chemistry glassware or my non-functional industrial light bulbs so it’s a good thing I made all this effort.
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My last act before I left the USA was teaching a three-day box making workshop in my mother’s house. We transformed her lovely living room into a chaotic mess, prompting my step father to vacate the state of Delaware for the duration of the course. Thanks to my mom and her lovely friends, and a special thanks to poor Clarke for giving over his favorite room. And house. And state.
Have a look at this haul after our first day. Buttons!
The only mishap over the three days? My mother glued herself to herself. But don’t worry, she’s fine.
Over and out!