Sunday, 2 January 2022

A year in review: Furniture and fittings, part two

This memorial contains almost a month’s worth of parts – though not all of ‘em are about my house! – and the post you’re reading is the ninth in the series. 

I’d gone to Bunnings on 16 January to get a latch for the bedroom door on the second floor – it swung shut suddenly if you left it open as, when the rear sliding doors sit open, a breeze comes through my bedroom – and I’d also mentioned to Joe the possibility of cutting off part of my desk so that my chair arms would slide underneath. The next day, after he installed the clothesline, Joe’s handyman Adam helped me install it and also alter my office desk. I put the final bolt into the Hills device and waited until he and his offsider appeared from where, in another terrace, they’d been working, then the three of us traipsed upstairs to my bedroom. Adam installed the door snib latch using inserts screwed into the plaster wall, then went to the desk and drew a line on the support under the desktop to mark where to cut, which he did starting with a multi tool. He finished using a circular saw and, after the two men had left the building, with a brush and dustpan I swept up the sawdust and dumped it in the rubbish. 

Another thing appearing at this time was a worktable. I’d gone down to the street one day in January to talk with Joe and we stood together for a while outside his garage – the house he used to live in is just next-door to mine – as people were putting furniture and other things on a truck bed. It turned out that he was in the process of giving away belongings and I asked him about a white painted table that, to me, looked old but, like my sculpture and my pewter Chinese tin, solid. He shuffled off for a moment to consult his wife then came to tell me I could have it. 

He’d bought it at a friend’s antique shop, he said. It has a perceptibly split top but because it appeared to be sound I asked him if he could put it in my studio as I needed a surface on which I could draw, ink prints.

On 21 January at around 8.30pm Joe called me and I asked if the table could be brought in. He said he’d give it a go, but when two men brought it over they couldn’t even get it through the gate to the front garden. It therefore went into the garage with a promise that the next day someone’d come to disassemble it so that it could be carried upstairs. As it turned out I took it apart myself using a Philips-head screwdriver and then had recourse to Facebook Messenger where I contacted a friend. Together, on 23 January, Grant and I carried the table upstairs (see below).

I’d hung more pictures as the hooks I’d ordered on eBay arrived and I redesigned the stairway to the second floor (see below) so posted on Facebook:

Family photos, my testamur (first degree), a photo by Noel Kewish, my great-uncle, a painting that belonged to my great-uncle Elmer by Fritz Kraul, a Pixie O’Harris drawing, a reproduction of a photo of Sydney Harbour by an Old Cranbrookian, a linocut I did in 1982, and a commemorative plaque given to my great-grandfather Robert James Kewish, a Weekly 

In the middle of the left-hand column is one item I missed mentioning. This is a collage mum’d made on red paper, when she was alive, from leaves and bark creating a view of hills in a way that, given her natural talent, she indulged too infrequently. I’d gotten John Verhoeven to put D-rings in this and other pictures so they could be placed on walls. 

The photo of my daughter Adelaide – bottom of centre-right column – was taken when she was about 14. I had a number of such images which had been made within one of those funny Japanese photo booths (“puri-kura”: “print club”) that allow you to add captions, stars, and hearts – visual paraphernalia of teenage effervescence – making ready-mades for friendship. 

Robert James Kewish was a Mason and his departure for Melbourne from Leongatha was regretted by the Gippsland town’s community, hence the decorative plaque (bottom, centre-left column) that has multiple nature references, including a sylvan scene complete with picturesque gum tree and native flowers. 

David Moore wasn’t a Cranbrook boy – I made a mistake when mentioning the photo on Facebook – but had been born in Vaucluse (where I lived from 1963 to 1981). On 15 February I took this reproduction down and replaced it with another of Adelaide’s goofy photos. Both were printed using a regular inkjet printer and I’d gotten them finished in recycled antique frames bought second-hand.
The linocut (bottom, left-hand side) was made by me in 1983 after my trip to Japan that year and the year before. It was over the Christmas break and dad organised it with his friend Jerry Fuseya. Japan consumed me and I was especially drawn to their reverence for antiquity. Religious structures you can see in that country form material for work such as this, which features a Buddhist temple – probably in Nara (I don’t recall exactly the one upon which my design was modelled but I’m pretty sure it is Kiyo Mizu Dera; in October this would move downstairs).

The photo of my maternal grandmother, Bea (centre-right, top of column) with her sister Reba – looking suspiciously different from each other – is one among dozens of such images put up on the walls of her apartment by mum after she had it enlarged and framed in Maroochydore. 

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