The indigenous Australians that occupied Australia for thousands of years before 'dem white folks' turned up had a wonderful world view which seems to be more and more frequently entwined in the speeches of Australian political leaders than ever before. 'Custodian' and 'custodianship' are words that are very soup du jour Down Under, especially as we try to heal the overwhelming gap between the two cultures that seem completely and diametrically opposed. One firmly didn't believe in private property, the other does, one believed in taking only what you need, the other believes that the only thing worth pursuing is growth.
The Vedic world view, as described by my old meditation instructor, is that there are three operators at play in the world around us. We have been obsessed in recent years mainly with one of them, creation, but the other two are equally as important, moderation and destruction.
Of the latter two, one is particularly dear to me, and that is moderation. In a world where most things are made to 'fuck and chuck' , some things are made to last, to nurture, to restore, to come back to.
Recently a man popped into my Studio. I knew him almost two decades ago. He had run a series of successful companies but had recently folded his most recent company and had divorced and remarried since I last saw him. He is an aesthete, a man who was always busy working hard in his companies but who enjoyed the fruits of his labour well. Cars, watches, shoes. That sort of thing.
He arrived at my Studio with a pair of GJ Cleverley shoes, they had seen better days and were so cracked and creased behind the toe box, mingey and greying and a bit of leather scalloped from the vamp, that I really did not know whether they were able to be restored.
It coincided with the delivery of two bottles from Wrist Clean , an excellent solution for cleaning watch faces as well as leather straps too.
What was intended to be a day creating and cutting new products wound up being a day of 'moderation' or perhaps the better word is 'maintenance' - the operator between creation and destruction - the monitoring, nurturing or preservation of that which is still living or working.
Like a cracked record I will explain the process, which ultimately never changes too much. Saphir renovateur, soak it in, beaver brush on black dye, let it dry, add black pomade by Saphir, let it dry, brush off, wax on Saphir black wax, wax off, high shine with water and excessive sweaty rubbing.
But then I decided to give the Wrist Clean a whirl too and it brought up the watch spectacularly.
With luck and care the watch will survive another thirty years, the leather strap a year to five years, the shoes, whilst probably due for a coffin and a cremation, restored now, they will probably go for another three years. Okay, you won't wear them to the opening night of the opera, but paired with a dark grey suit nobody will notice. Or just wear them with dark blue jeans on a Friday night so that when those cocktails you ordered spill onto your shoes you don't care.
If there is one pearl of wisdom to take from this blog post it is this: look after the things you have in your life, take an indigenous Australian approach, be a custodian, and nurture and preserve it for as long as you can. Not everything is about what is brand new.