Saturday, October 3, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

I have sort of an odd confession: I really, really like tin foil. I don't use it that often because I read somewhere that using aluminum with food products can give you Alzheimers, but on those occasions I feel it is necessary, I excitedly pull out the box. I always try to keep the sheet as smooth as possible when pulling it from the roll. I carefully slice it along the box's serrated edge, ideally without snagging the sheet and causing a wrinkle. I think there is something incredibly clean and fresh about a newly unrolled piece of tin foil that I simply can't get over. Maybe though, my love for new tin foil stems from memories of my youth. Staying with Granny, I was rarely allowed to pull a fresh length of foil from the roll and rather I was asked to take the crumpled piece waiting primly on the oak buffet to be reused.

My Granny saved everything for reuse. And, really, I mean everything. Aluminum can tops, wrapping paper, pickle jars, and the pickle juice...and always tin foil. I remember trying to press the wrinkles out of the foil with my fingers, and after what felt like hours of work, it still never flattened to the consistency of that fresh piece. She would also cut up my dad's glue stained jeans and make pot holders from them, make shirts from cloth feed bags, and quilts from old shirts and threadbare pillowcases.

While I begrudged reusing such products, especially the tin foil, I am thankful to Granny for showing me to better appreciate the seemingly insignificant items we apathetically consume each day. Actions such as hers help in turn to reduce waste which I have now learned, after paying a lot of money for an environmental law and policy degree, is exceptionally important to the health of our environment. I am also thankful that her example has taught me that just because we may have a new roll of tin foil, it is not necessary to use it if you have a perfectly good piece that still does the job.


The other day someone brought me a Red spruce top that was too small for large body guitars, and after sanding it down, I saw that its color wasn't perfectly uniform across the surface. Some folks might see these characteristics as flaws, but I don't. This top is special in its own right, and because a three hundred year old tree was cut to produce this set of wood, I feel that it deserves to be appreciated and used. The grain within the wood is tight and the board is stiff, which my dad taught me are ideal characteristics for a top that will produce great sound.

I decided that a perfect use for this set of top wood would be for a Nick Lucas guitar because its significant sunburst will cover the color differences on the edges of the top. I have paired the top with an incredibly flamed set of maple back and sides, who's curl will be amplified by the stain that will be sprayed on it. I can't wait to finish this instrument, and just wanted to tell you how special the wood in it is to me. I like to think my Granny would be proud that I appreciate and use every set of wood I have and am able to see potential and beauty in something that perhaps not everyone would.

 Don't overlook something just because it isn't perfect. Sometimes you can still make something amazing with it.





5 comments:

  1. I love the idea of repurposing--it is often amazing how artists like yourself can create new beauty with just a spark of ingenuity!

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  2. I am as big a fan of your blog as I am of your luthier skills. Thank you Jayne, you make me think.

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    1. Wow, thank you Joe! I think that might be one of the nicest compliments I have ever gotten. Thanks so much for reading!

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  3. This is wonderfully written and thoughtful. It was a pleasure and an honor to spend a little time with you among the chaos this week, I look forward to reading more...you are a talented young woman in many aspects and a gift to this earth.

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  4. My Granny did the same thing Jayne ! Thanks for the great memories and good advice !

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