This is a series of prints I have made about my dad’s tools. When my dad died I had to sort out his house. Unfortunately unbeknown to me there had been a large hole in the roof of my dads shed and by the time it was discovered his treasured toolbox was waterlogged and the tools sitting in a rusty stew. I decided to let the tools go because I didn’t know what else to do and was too grief stricken to think of an alternative at the time. I regret that decision now because I think tools are such beautiful objects and so cleverly made for a particular purpose which they perform perfectly. They represent such skill and labour which are admirable qualities. These prints are made from memory, and represent the vagueness of that memory. They are not meant to be detailed images of the tools but an attempt to capture the feel of them in my hand, their weight, and the coldness of the steel or warmth of the wood. They try to show the many strikes of the hammerer and the sweeps of the pasting brush, in order to show how hard my dad worked to make everything better for us.
These were tools he used and jobs he did after having worked hard for a full week, when he probably wanted to sit down and rest and read the newspaper.
My dad had a great many tools, which he would spend hours toiling with, and often swearing at. There was a warm familiarity in holding them, my dads history seemingly ingrained in the handles. He had exceptionally large hands and in holding the handles of his tools I felt I could feel the warmth of those chunky bear claws.
My dad worked in the London docks as a Stevedore and everyone there had a nickname. He was called Sausage because of the size of his chunky fingers, each one like a full fat sausage. My favourite nickname was given to his friend Sky, so called because he was very tall. My dad was not a craftsman in any way. He was not even very good at DIY, but he would have a go. He made lots of repairs to our car and to the house, mainly because they simply couldn’t afford to pay for a proper repair. He even made alterations to the house, knocking through to the kitchen from the lounge.
When I was pregnant, and lived in a single persons grotty flat, he came and decorated, painting and papering the walls so that it became a cosy home for a newborn. His box of tools, a large wooden suitcase (painted silver, who knows why?) always ready and waiting for the next job.