Hand Tools

Brand New and Baroque Already
Response To:
clarfication ()

David Weaver
I only went there as a child. I don't know anyone who currently works at the museum, and I would've been too shy to ask a question (and I'm also not the type of person who wants to know a little of something so I may not ask much for questions in most places now, either).

George mentioned several times that his objective was to get out of the working public after about a decade and a half, that he more or less worked on the end of his bench so that people could see what he was doing (and he's left handed, I don't know if his bench was handed the right way).

When you look at a page like this:

you can see the type of work that George was doing entirely by hand in front of people. I don't know if the lute rose at the top is something that he carved in front of people, but he told me (and it says there) that someone stuck their finger through it just to test it. He also told me (which he posted on the blue forum, too) that some of the work he could identify as his because nobody else there could do it.

That creates a dynamic for the demonstrator trying to do good work - identifying the serious question (visitors almost ought to get badges "i am a serious question visitor and not someone bringing my kids here because I want them to have an educational vacation - something my parents did") folks, vs. people who are just making conversation, and the occasional visitor who wants to tell you that they could do everything you're doing in front of them, that only the huge amount of tools that you have makes you do better work than they can.

I may be a bit more plain and direct in person (as in I would say "I'm looking for substance, more than that, like ___)", but that may turn off a demonstrator - that would be their problem and not mine. I'd bet 90% of the museum visitors remember charismatic presenters more than they do skilled craftsmen. In my photo albums that my mom left me the last time she was here, there's one or two pictures of actors and a zillion pictures of the shops. Some guy is in the instrument shop standing in front of hanging instruments, but it's not george even though george was still there - it was a not larry, not marcus, not george journeyman.

What I know about George is that he will say "I think you don't know what you are talking about here" or "i think that's not correct", and he will instantly tell you whatever it is you want to know about. It's never a mystery - when you tap out what he knows about a subject, then he'll say that. Compared to some of the things I read on the forums, it's refreshing.

One last line - George told me a story (i may butcher the details) about being in the instrument shop and finishing an instrument and then saying to someone "it's brand new and baroque already", knowing full well that people would've had a sense of humor several hundred years ago, but what I recall from that was that they voiced a preference that he didn't joke like that lest it make the tradesmen look like simpletons.

I won't say why the curators sometimes say things that are different than what the craftsmen do or think, despite that being criticized. I'm no closer 6 hours later to having a clue how that was a relevant response to the statement.

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