Wednesday, April 08, 2009

knights, boats and treasure?

This morning in the CSS wood shop we continued work on the chess sets (5th and 6th grades). The students have been playing chess in their spare time and have really gotten into the game. The designs for the knights and bishops seem to have worked out well, and we came up with an agreed plan for the kings and queens which we will make next week. I wish I could get them to observe their work more closely, but that will come in time. I can remember my first work. There are things we just don't see until later when our sense of quality has matured.

This afternoon in the wood shop we continued work on the boat (9th and 10th grades), and made jigs for stamping letters and numbers on the hardwood lids for Pete's periodic table of elements. I got a set of large letter stamps, which combined with the smaller set allow for writing the abbreviations for the elements along with atomic weight.

I was asked to sit quietly on some news over the last week, and that gave me some time for quiet reflection. I got the letter today from the Arkansas Arts Council making official my selection as an "Arkansas Living Treasure," for my contributions to traditional crafts. That means that my selection is now a matter of public knowledge, so I can mention it to you, my readers. I haven't any real sense of what all this means, except for the following:

1. No craftsman is an island unto himself. We function in our work because we are encouraged by others to do so. We pay attention and apply care to our work because people notice and reward us with their kind thoughts. Things that are made with quality are made because there is encouragement for their making. It takes a village to raise a craftsman. If a single craftsman is honored, all are honored, along with the community and culture in which he or she has grown.

2. The message of the wisdom of the hands is one that people in the arts and craft community understand and wish to encourage.

3. I plan to use this acknowledgment of my work to further the cause, the promotion of crafts, woodworking and hands-on learning in schools, homes and lives. Wish us all luck.


  1. Doug, that is wonderful news. Congratulations to you...surely well deserved.


  2. Doug, you are truly a treasure. Your gifts extend far beyond your craftsmanship. I think your work is merely a vehicle which allows you to share your true gift with others. Congratulations!

  3. Anonymous12:32 PM

    Doug, Let your classes that made those great looking Chess Sets know that when setting up the Board that the 'White Square' is always at the lower rigth hand side Great looking boat also look forward to it's floating.

  4. Anonymous5:06 AM

    You really are doing a great thing with those students. And don't be too disappointed about not getting them to observe their work. In my own work at the community college I don't see much of that either.