Don't wanna be your Monkeywrench...

... I just want your old one!

Most of us have been in an old worn-in tool shed before. You know, the air even smells worn in. The tools have a kind of wisdom, and if they could speak they would tell long interesting stories about their hard work and how well their owner treated them. Often there are old mason jars full of rusty bolts screwed to the ceiling, pegboard walls, beat up work benches, dirty aprons, scratched safety glasses and a paint splattered floor.

I've always thought that someday I would have my tools traced out on the wall like a meticulous, persnickety grandpa, but haven't earned that title just yet. Garages and workshops have always held a special place in my heart - brilliant furniture has been made, cars wrenched and repaired, and broken items mended. The workshop is a place where ideas come to life... but the tools often outlive their owners.

Rachel and I are often hunting down used materials for our art pieces, but we also love old tools. Beat up, scratched up, paint chipped-greasy-old-nasty-heavy tools! We love 'em.

We recently had the honor of visiting our family friends' cabin in Running Springs. The owners had previously permitted us to "scrounge around" the workshop on site, and adopt any tools not currently in use for cabin maintenance. Their father, the builder of the cabin and longtime carpenter, had left a good number of hand tools around that we were able to save from eternal mountain loneliness. We also found a few interesting pieces of hardware from old machines that we have also been able to re-purpose into some of our artwork.

If you know of a tool collection left untouched and unloved, and don't know what to do with it, donating it to Work of My Hands is an opportunity to resurrect those old tools, and make sure they will have a good home for many years. A tool working in the life of an artist is a rather exciting one.


Shawn Michael

workshop tools pegboard