Monday, February 26, 2007

There are times when I wish my readers would be more challenging of the things I say. For instance, yesterday I said that hand-made things are more expensive than machine made things. This is only true if you are thinking only of the short term. When the long term value of the object enters the equation, the hand crafted unique object may be far less expensive. I offer the following quote from Michael Ruhlman in Wooden Boats

"We mass-produced our stuff and made it cheap so we could aford lots of it, and thus the quality had diminished to the point that we needed even more stuff, because cheap things break or go bad or get old fast. Things that grow more valuable with age are typically things of superior quality. Even now we might be unable to recognize things of superlative quality, and if so, it was already too late--we'd have to wait four hundred years for a second Renaissance to flood the culture with light."

But we won't wait four hundred years. Tomorrow in the woodshop at Clear Spring School, we will be making friendship boxes to be inscribed and exchanged between students in the First and Second grades. In the 3rd and 4th grades, we are making similar boxes, but because they are studying space, the friendship expressed will be between the earth and moon. The lids of the boxes will be decorated with the earth, orbited by the moon. These won't be objects of the highest quality unless you are looking at the qualities of learning and growth. As Otto Salomon said, the value of the child's work is not in the object made, but in the child who made it.

The piece in the photo above is some of my early work, from around 1980 or so. It is made of cherry with exposed mortise and tenon joints locked and expanded outside the mortise with walnut wedges. I don't know if this piece of early work exists or if it has value. It would be nice to see it again someday.

No comments:

Post a Comment