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a job-lot of flagstone, Amazing New Kind of art

preview snippet(s) : link
for M. C. Williamson. “Puttering is an art!,” in The American Home 21:6 (May 1939) : 28, 87, 88

After assembling a draft of this post — with almost nothing in the way of clues as to what Williamson’s article was actually about — a copy of the magazine came into my possession. The article is devoted mainly to projects undertaken in the author’s half-acre lot, situated on a hill. These include a swim and slide (for children), an arbor seat, a fireplace for backyard grilling, etc. Some philosophizing is indulged in —

...Because puttering is an art. You might even say it is a fine art, when it is an end in itself and not essentially a means to an end...
      This article concerns the results of three years of purposeful puttering. It is presented in the hope that some of the ideas may prove of interest and value to fellow-putterers.
      And if you must putter, here is a rough formula that may help you to avoid a back-ache. Devote one-third of your time to a contemplation of the job to be done, another third to doing it, and the remaining third to admiration of the finished result. The first step is important because a well-planned job is more speedily consummated. The last is your reward for a job well done. I am still figuring out how to dispense with the second step.

  1. The article entire is available here (pdf)
    Almost the entire run of the magazine, in pdf format — including this issue — is available via USModernist : link

  2. The advertisements in The American Home are something of a snapshot of white American mentalities, imaginations, dreams (and submerged anxieties) of their time, which in this instance was the Depression of the 1930s. Meanwhile, Germany had occupied Poland in 1939 (link) and Japan was already at war in China (link); the war would soon upset American life-as-usual.

The expression “Puttering is an art” also appears in a piece in the Walla-Walla Union-Bulletin (January 23, 2022) — “U-B Columnist Annie Charnley Eveland reflects on her retirement: Oh look, a squirrel — a new approach to getting things done.”

More exactly, it is in a response by Helen to the author’s Facebook post about a slower work pace, post retirement.

Read it here

21 February 2024