Patterns are everywhere. They are amazing. I’ll get to that, but first, let me tell you about my disease. That’s what I tell folks when they say to me, “Karen, you’re so creative!” I guess I am, I do have an ability to “see things” that aren’t there yet. Some might think I’m a bit nuts, but that’s OK. For instance, I see shelves in a nasty old piece of wood. I see a beautiful necklace in a rock and when I see a pile of doilies — Oh my, enhanced clothing, bedspreads and sometimes sitting on a table under a lamp at the perfect angle.
The worst of all the things I see is the potential of an old piano or pump organ. The cabinets of these gorgeous instruments are incredible with fancy woodwork and carvings. Yet, let’s face it, most pump organs are over a century old, so they are tired and most have lost their voice. Pianos too, unfortunately, “free stuff” on Craigslist always has pianos. Pump organs are heavy, but pianos, they weigh in at around 400-500 lbs., we need help getting one off the truck, but, imagine me and my husband, at a combined weight of 287 lbs. moving these buggers around because Karen wants to take it apart! All that to say, I am fascinated by the mechanical engineering masterpieces inside these instruments that all work together so that one light touch of a key makes (or used to make) incredible sound.
Did you know that there are 7 to 8 steps of hinges and movements before the piano hammer touches the harp strings? Each step has various carved wood pieces involved. There are too many to count, and so many screws and dowels for each key. There are 88 keys on a piano requiring least a thousand or more screws when all is said and done. The precise cut of each piece is ridiculous, not to mention made without electricity, without lasers, just old fashioned craftsmanship. Precise, beautiful craftsmanship. One error and guess what? Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or chopsticks ain’t gonna sound so spiffy!
And here I am, ripping them apart! Well, it’s better than seeing them in the dump! Here are some of my favorite crafts from old pianos and organs. Anywhere from Key-holders to shelving, I’m working on a desk now.
My favorite pride and joy is the shelf that is made completely from piano parts, all 88 keys were in perfect shape and they cried out for something special. The wine rack above is made from the key cover of that same piano. It is now displayed in a beautiful Victorian Bed and Breakfast, The Queen.
Same Piano enhancing kitchen cabinets in house we flipped:
OK, so yes, I sell stuff, and even do commissioned work, so if you have a piano or old piece of furniture of Grandma’s & you want something pretty that isn’t so freaking big in your house . . . drop it off! Here is a memorial piece I did . . .
But I’m not writing today to gain more pianos, organs or any of the other things this eccentric weirdo finds fun. I’m writing about a fascination of mine. Patterns. It just happens that the craft of making a piano or an organ are both incredible examples of ability, artistry and craftsmanship. However patterns are everywhere. They are in nature, in plants, animals and rocks. They are in man-made creations, buildings, bridges, art and jewelry. Patterns are in words, music and wildlife calls. What does this have to do with positivity? Everything.
Patterns are wonderful to observe — it can be even meditative if you allow. It may be the pattern of artistry in something as intricate as a piano, or a motherboard, or the delicacy of a flower. It may be your own pattern of living that gives you peace. (Possibly the negativity of our current time is due to an imbalance of patterns?) ((OUCH)) ((and again, OUCH)).
Let me ask a question or two . . . what patterns bring joy, peace and dignity to your life? What patterns are out of whack and bring turmoil? What can you do to make that change? When I take apart a piano or organ, it is a complete and utter disaster of messiness, that is, until screws are bagged, broken wood burned, and pieces put back together again in a different order. I know that I can be impulsive, eccentric, eclectic, undisciplined and off-the-wall. However patterns bring clarity, ability to see “something new” and stability in a crazy world.
I encourage you to look for and appreciate the patterns of life, of art, of nature, and of man-made things. Appreciate what makes things the same and different. I believe it fascinating, and doing this will either drive you crazy, or give you a sense of appreciation and positive awareness. I hope the discipline of “seeing” the intricacies of patterns brings you joy!
Enjoying the Adventure,
Please visit my other Blog: Brown Bag Letter
–a blog of stories celebrating “personal history”. You will find antique anonymous photos connected to stories people have shared with me about their grandparents and family folklore.