HO Studley

It’s (Studley) Showtime!

photo courtesy of Narayan Nayar

photo courtesy of Narayan Nayar

Friday morning May 15, 2015, saw the fulfillment of a dream in such concrete and veristic terms that it was breathtaking.  On that day and through the weekend, I was joined by about a thousand enthusiastic aficionados to share my interest (obsession?) with this over-the-top tool cabinet and its companion workbench.

The plan for the exhibit was for each visitor to have about 50  minutes in the gallery, along with a maximum of 49 other patrons.  There were some pleasant surprises along the way, along with the need for constant reminders (mostly to me to keep on track as I could get too wrapped up in the story of Studley; throughout the weekend various docents had the task of pulling the plug on me).

photo courtesy of Naryan Nayar

photo courtesy of Naryan Nayar


photo courtesy of Bartee Lamar, I think

The visitors checked in at the ticket table, then waited in the elegant Library of the Scottish Rite Temple until their time to enter came to pass.


In the Library was a Lost Art Press station for the purchase of Virtuoso, although that was rendered inactive by the start of the second day as all the books available were sold.  You can get a peek of MeganF right behind one of the delightful Bagby sisters (sorry, I simply cannot recall her name) near the center of the image as we are in the Library.


Also present was Narayan with his remarkable hand-processed print of the collection, which he printed himself on his large-format printer.

I met each hour’s group with some words of introduction and instruction (more of this function was inside the gallery as the weekend progressed) and then I made a point of attempting to greet and thank every single person at the door.  I was and remain humbled and grateful for the enthusiastic validation they provided.  In the picture above of the check-in table you can see me at the very back of the image shaking the hand of every person I could as they walked through the door into the gallery.





photo courtesy of Bartee Lamar




The visual of people engrossed and captivated by the three stations of the exhibit and the accompanying documentary video repeated itself every hour on the hour over the three days.  I was especially delighted by the fellow who showed up ready to party with a head mounted digital camera to record the event.  He sent me the video file and it was a gas!


One of my very favorite images was this one, with the ghostly pair of hands with a camera hovering above the case.


The hands-on replica bench top with its outfitting of period piano-maker’s vises and decorative elements from the tool cabinet was a big hit.


photo courtesy of Narayan Nayar


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cUS Trip 165

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At the bottom of every hour we opened the vitrine and I spoke at some length about Studley and the tool cabinet and contents, and either opened or closed the compartments that lent themselves to that.  This was the first time the guts of the cabinet were ever seen by the public.

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After that we raised the house lights to provide the maximum lumens into the room for folks to take their final photos, including a lot of portraits and selfies with the case.  The fellowship during these sessions was truly heartwarming, I only wish I could remember each interaction.



While that was going on, I moved to the back of the room where there was a line of folks waiting to get their books signed.  I don’t know how many I signed, but it was a lot.



Friday was a bit different from the rest of the days as after hours Chris Schwarz and I were filmed by Charles Brock of the Highland Woodworker for an upcoming episode.  I think the footage will be incorporated into the documentary film that Lost Art Press will be releasing in the fall.

One of the most surprising events of the weekend was one that did not happen.  As I laid out the schedule for the weekend, I set aside a brief period at the end of every session to clean the plexiglass vitrine, wiping all the drool and nose prints off.  It was unnecessary to plan in that manner.  The audience was so respectful to the exhibit that the ongoing cleaning of it was essentially not needed.  We wiped it off from a little dust and the occasional fingerprint, but y’all did great in the exhibit etiquette department.

The final afternoon of the exhibit was such a special time for me that it deserves its own post.  Ditto the tale of The Heroes And Hired Guns.  Stay tuned.


PS  A number of these new friends sent me photos they took.  I did not have access to all the emails when I wrote this and could not identify the photographer for each image, but you know who you are and I thank you sincerely for letting me use your pictures.