Once Upon a Spindle—Chapter 2

We would be remiss if we did not share the original tale of Once Upon a Spindle and the first Vintage Spindles which were brought to Rooster Ridge with love and with the intention of Re-Purposing. The Cottage at Rooster Ridge is a 100 year old building, which means the requirement to have a handrail was not in place when this “not-to-code” steep and narrow staircase was built! One of the many joys of grandfathering! The charming staircase is made of beautifully aged wood. When viewing an individual step at eye level, you are able to see the dips on the left and the right of each stair, which have been created by footfalls through the years—resonating history! This staircase was one of the first discoveries that was made during the renovation of the cottage—we removed the carpeting which was on the staircase and the subsequent layer after layer of thick aged paint.

After the renovation was complete the staircase began getting more and more use and it became apparent that a handrail would come in handy. The Art and Writing Studio is upstairs in The Cottage at Rooster Ridge, often canvases and art supplies are being carried up and down, a place to pause on this steep stairway with a solid grip-hold would come in handy!

l found it a difficult to imagine an ordinary handrail in this little artistic building and not very creative! With the freedom granted from grandfathering, the question became, “Why does a handrail have to be a single piece of…anything? Why couldn’t it be several things?”

This became the first new use and Re-Purposing of the Vintage Spindles we had fallen in love with! It seemed logical— as the spindles had once served a purpose in a staircase in a vertical position—why not turn them on their sides and enable them to be Re-Purposed into a horizontal staircase-handrail!

This became a perfect solution for this narrow staircase with it’s “non-code” angles and turns as well as being creative, artistic and unique!

These are the steps (pun intended) we took—the spindles were sanded, stained and the ends were rounded to remove the square ends. The idea to use different styles of  spindles furthered the unique appearance and interest! As they were also made of different woods the color varied as well as the patterns.

We found Vintage handrail supports to attach the spindle-handrails. The finishing touch was a decorative end-piece—which in actuality is a stationery accessory which we had on hand!

Re-Purposing. Thinking as artistically and creatively as possible is our goal and motto at The Cottage at Rooster Ridge. Removing the limits of what something once was and allowing the freedom for it to become.

Art Lives!


The Art of the Collection: Vintage Plummets

Juxtaposed to yesterday’s article; Linear Thinking…Prohibited! with the fullest intent of irony at it’s core, we wish to share the ultimate in linear thought…The Art of the Collection: Vintage Plummets!

A plumb-bob or a plummet is a weight, usually with a pointed tip on the bottom, that is suspended from a string and used as a vertical reference line, or plumb-line. Truly…it doesn’t get any more linear than that!

In our first article discussing collecting; The Art of the Collection: Vintage Soda Bottles we spoke of the myriad of reasons that one begins to collect. Artistic appreciation—the lines (pun intended,) shape, form or material. Historical perspective—it’s original function, history and the rich stories as we attempt to answer the who, what, when and where.  Other times it is the simple beauty of something or what it evokes in us—at times, it is our memories that becomes the fuel that propels us.

A memory was the key-note in the collection of Vintage Plumb-bobs at Rooster Ridge. With Steven’s original brass plummet that once had belonged to his Dad having spent decades in a toolbox it was at long last brought indoors. The comfort and warm emotions had created the stir to collect more, and so it began—A Collection of Vintage Plummets. Who would have guessed?

Research ensued and the hunt began! It is interesting to see the various shapes and sizes of the multitude of plummets. The variations seem to be dependent upon different factors; the particular use, the age and the country of origin. We have recently added a retro-top-style plummet which came to us from England. Another plummet came from Greece; in order to increase its’ weight while limiting additional expensive brass, lead bearings had been placed inside. We were able to unscrew the top to discover the source of the metallic rattling noise. Yes, they spilled out everywhere…along with some antique Greek dust!

How elaborate the design is, the uniqueness of the shape and the level of sophistication of engineering all became part of our education and discovery.

Some collectors choose to display their collections behind glass, in a fixed and stationary presentation. At Rooster Ridge most of our collections are out, sitting on shelves—and yes, often rolling off them as well! The plummet was held in the hand—cupped by the craftsman and in the case of vintage plummets they have been used for decades. We have found, quite charmingly, our visitors are compelled to do the same, often asking if they can hold them! While experiencing the solid weight one cannot help imagine the particular task at hand when the plummet was utilized. I would venture to guess if one were so inclined, a story could be written for each and every one of them…if only plummets could speak!

Our collections are also used! They have survived to current day and we see no reason to retire them! At times, they carry on in the tradition of their original function. Other times they are used in decorative displays; on mantles and in table settings. Discreetly nestling a row of plumb-bobs amidst beautiful ceramic dishes, flowers and cloth napkins can be an interesting conversation starter! Questions often begin meekly with the obvious direction, as to the beginning of the collection—we have found the transgression to personal stories and memories of people and wonderful things being built follow shortly thereafter.

At Rooster Ridge we find the richness of life often comes in the depth of character of what surrounds us—and always from the beauty that comes to our door—through the hearts and stories of our visitors…or from the stories of those, who at one time, visited us—we miss you Sid!

Art Lives!