I see the scraps of fabric littering the floor around my wastebasket and I think of the shoemaker who lived in a house I once owned.
I knew his profession because I researched the history of the house. I only got back as far as him and his family. They lived in the house in the early 1800s but I could never go back far enough to find out who lived there before him or when the house was built.
The shoemaker sold the house to a doctor who used the same room the shoemaker had his shop in as an office.
But when I pulled up the floor in that room to insulate under it, between the cracks I found thin strips of leather.
They were the shoemaker’s scraps.
When I found them I imagined what his shop looked like. I saw him sitting at his workbench, trimming a thin strip of leather from a shoe and it falling onto a pile of other leather scraps too small to use that he’d later sweep up.
I saw one of those scraps getting wedged between the floorboards, getting pushed further and further down with each sweeping till it slipped between the floor and subflooring or filled the crack becoming a part of the floor itself.
I loved finding those scraps, evidence of the work that was once done in that room. Witness to the man who lived and worked there. A reminder of his craft.
I feel a kinship to that shoemaker when I look at the scraps on my studio floor. They are evidence of my day’s work as much as what I created.
I’m certain there are scraps of fabric, threads, and pins settling into the cracks between my floorboards. Some even sandwiched between the flooring and subfloor. All becoming a part of the building.
All of them, witnesses of my art and creative life.