This past weekend I took an all day class on aging, (as in wood, concrete, plastic, canvas, etc), not physically, since I already know how to do that quite well. The neat thing about this class was how many things the instructor shared that apply to art, but could also apply to business.
The first thing we learned was that when you are aging a piece of furniture, you need to think about what you want the piece of furniture to say and to know that, you need to know the back story. You can’t just take a piece of furniture and start hammering it or wiping off paint in random places. You want to create a story that may mean Uncle Jimmy sat in that chair and rocked back and forth, wearing out one particular arm as he rested his elbow on one side while he used his other arm to hold his pipe. A cupboard may bear the story of a woman in hoop skirts who had to bend down to open the drawer, but found it much easier to shut the drawer by kicking it shut with her foot. The door may show that story by the wear and tear clearly seen on the door where her foot kicked it shut, day after day. In telling the back story with every piece of furniture, you create a more authentic piece. Every business can benefit from that instruction, especially in a day and time when the backstory can help to make your business success.
In relating a story about an antique dealer that tried to sell her a piece of furniture that clearly did not have original markings, I asked her if she called them on it. “No, she said, I have no need to start a fight that I have no interest in.” I’m not a confrontational person, so that one made me think. How often do I get involved in something, just because? “I recently saw someone blatantly cut in line and take something unimportant off the counter. I let the shop keeper know, because I felt I needed to share, but in reality, the behavior was nothing of consequence. Yet Carol was right, that fight is not my fight. I don’t have a vested interest in the outcome either way, but I somehow felt compelled to let the shop keeper know, putting the action back on her back. “Focus on your own front yard my mother always used to say, and I have indeed found when I’m looking out for my own interests, I am far more capable.
There is more to share from this woman who is high in age with knowledge and wisdom to match. I will post more on my blog at another time. For now, good night.