I create my pocket squares using a variety of tools, some old and some new. These are a few of my favorites, some of which have been passed down in my family for over 100 years. Often, when I am drafting designs, I think about the hands that held them years ago, and it makes me feel connected to the past and to my relatives.
1. Globemaster Vernier Caliper: Used by my maternal grandfather, Kenneth Ernest Stephens, in his woodworking projects for the boats he restored in his lifetime. I now use the calipers to register blocks, making sure lines and sides are square and equidistant.
2. Staedtler Architect Ruler: Another one of Ken's tools, used for everything from creating signage to charting waters, now it drafts maquettes of my designs.
3. Yasutomo Bamboo Baren: This baren, made of layered bamboo, is used to pull proofs of my carved and inked blocks. It's an ancient tool, used by Japanese and Chinese printmakers as early as 700 AD.
4. American Electric Supply Co. Measuring Tape: Passed down from Ken and my grandmother, Eileen Frances Maher Stephens, this treasure was manufactured in Hartford, CT, where they both spent their childhood, and also where my wife and I eloped eight years ago.
5. Family Photo: My great-grandfather Franklyn Sydney Maher, made this for his mother, Mary Benway Maher, and it reminds me of all the artists in my family.
6. Sterling Winstead Scissors: Mary Benway Maher inherited this set from her mother-in-law upon her marriage to my great-great grandfather, Reginald Tallman Maher.
7. Brass and Cherry Framing Square: Used by Franklyn, an avid photographer, world traveller, and amateur genealogist, this square is a reminder of how many people came before me, how I am like a fraction of an inch on a ruler with no end.