Fair warning: you are going to get posts – several of them – about things made of twigs. It turns out that, speaking in terms both practical and aesthetic, twigs play an important role in our household.
My husband has always had a bit of an obsession with the woods, which results in him dragging various bits of the outdoors into the house. He likes to make things from the stuff he drags home. No, not sleek handcarved windsor chairs, in case you were wondering. When he finishes his particular masterpieces one can trace a very short line between their origins and their final form. Meaning: his coat rack made from a tree looks like a tree used as a coat rack.
Believe me, I’m not complaining about this. The charm is infinite and the craftsmanship subtle. The twig hooks he makes have (handplaned!) backs so they hang flush against the wall, and slightly (handcarved!) beveled edges so that the wood doesn’t snag the lining of that mink coat you hand over to the maid to hang up before heading over to the bar cart for a nightcap.
M.H. even made our original marital bed out of tree trunks. While it was delightful to sleep in a bower right out of a scene from The Lord of the Rings, it wasn’t delightful enough to keep us from leaving the massive bed frame behind during one of our moments of we-need-to-move-right-this-minute-because-the-new-landlord-is-raising-the-rent-by-25% (or our-new-landlord-is-schizophrenic, or a-villain-of-dickensian-proportions, or…take your pick).
I sometimes wonder what happened to that bed, but I don’t wonder too long, because there are new twigs and tree trunks in my life. The first gift M.H. ever gave to me was a burl from a tree, hollowed into a bowl. I was living in a house full of fellow co-eds – as I insist on quaintly calling women who continue their education – and these women were openly horrified at such a gift. Blinded by love as I was, I thought it was charming. When the next gift arrived, however – a pencil case made of a length of bamboo – I began to wonder if I had on my hands a man who used me as an excuse to spend time whittling. How right I was. But as it turns out, I get along pretty well with twigs (and the man too, which is a relief to all concerned).
He made the white twig board coat rack (it’s surprisingly sophisticated to see twigs painted white) which I love, as well as the tree coat rack. More love. Both are useful and both pieces generate conversation with first-time visitors to our home. “Wow!” they say “That tree is a coat rack!” Yes, I tell them, it is. Unless that coat rack is really a tree. Did I mention? My husband is also a philosopher. And now all of it – the woods, the whittling, the trees-and-coat-rack conundrums – makes perfect sense.