Friday, November 21, 2008

The grand tour of Portland's hardware stores!

Phew! This was an action packed day. Started at 8:30am by heading out to my critique/collaboration group's working meeting. We were just going to each work on our own pieces (a place setting), so I brought some sculpey to see if I could make some blueberry game pieces. (My place setting is going to be a game board, although I haven't figured out the game yet.) It worked out well, but it was obvious that I needed some different colors than the ones I got.

From there, it was onto lunch with Horatio, an well established artist who's always been so encouraging and helpful with my work.

Then came the Grand Tour!

Subtitle: Wow, there are sure a lot of hardware stores in Portland...someone could start a blog reviewing them all!

I needed 720 itty bitty tiny screws, preferably brass, for the room divider screens. Naturally, I started at Winks Hardware. And yes, they had what I needed! But only 622 of them. I cleaned them out. They sent me onto Division Hardware. I got there just after 2pm, and sadly, the store was closed from 2 to 5pm for a memorial service...the owner had passed away.

As it happened, a cabinet maker arrived at the same time, and we struck up a conversation. He was very helpful, and sent me to NBH (or was that NHB?), back very close to where Winks is, and said, "they sell to the trade, but I bet if you told them you're an artist needing to do this project, they'd help you out."

Terrific. So I headed back towards the river. Nope, they didn't have what I needed, but they sent me 10 blocks south to General Threads. Don't bother looking them up, it's not the type of place that would have a website. In other words, it's just about the coolest place in town! Floor to ceiling of little tiny boxes, drawers, and trays. Many of them sitting precariously in mounds on the floor. The whole shebang is covered in dust, and there's the guy sitting right by the front door. You tell him what you want, and he gets it for you. And yup, they did have what I wanted. And there was a collection of ancient typewriters too. They still have brand new unopened boxes of screws from back when phillips heads were brand new. He proudly showed one to me, "see, here it says, introducing phillips screws..."

I just looked up phillips screws, and there's a Portland connection! And the patent dates to 1936.

One thing does make you wonder though—his glasses were missing a leg...didn't he have just the right screw to fix that?

The rest of the evening was a bit more uneventful. Stopped by at the house/studio of one of the artists in the Intersect/Parallel show to pick out the pieces for the show.

It was 7pm by the time I got home.


Michael5000 said...

My only regret is that you didn't have your camera along!

Julie Stenning said...

I live in the Forest of Dean in the U.K. and one of local hardware stores is like NBH - although rather than one man, it is run by 3 sisters who inherited it from their father. I am amazed they can find anything, it is stacked floor to ceiling and then there is more out back.