Friday, January 14, 2011

full wooden jacket....

Some of my readers may remember Stanley Kubrick's film, Full Metal Jacket about an infantryman pushed toward murder and suicide. We are given choices of how to engage physical reality, and as human beings, we are challenged to either align with the creator and exercise human creativity in physical reality, or we may find ourselves estranged and engaged in other ways tragic to others and ourselves. You may be troubled by the events in Arizona and hope to find some way to understand, as do I.

There is a fine line between the power to create and the power to destroy. The movies are full of graphic illustrations from which we might learn from mistakes and misdirections.

The full wooden jacket is concept I just made up this morning as I woke up from my dreams. It's a way to describe what is offered by creative engagement in woodworking. There are challenges in woodworking. Wood doesn't always do what we we might hope or expect. We might even find ourselves talking to it. Wood talks back. As we shape or sand, it provides a dialog through tactile and visual changes from coarse to smooth. As it does so, it soothes, consoles, and opens our eyes (and every other sense) to beauty and our own creative potential. It provides armor and protection in that it allows us to feel engaged at our highest levels as positive forces within our families and communities. When a young man or woman becomes involved in making things from wood, he or she also engages in the remaking of self as craftsman. The values of craftsmanship are the essential values of civilization. We choose swords or ploughshares, one or the other.

I am amazed when I teach woodworking, how many people tell me that they were drawn to woodworking for the solace it provides. They may have felt a lack of connection and needed some way of creative engagement in tactile, physical reality to feel most whole and most thoroughly alive. They come to class, not only to make boxes, but to reformulate and nourish themselves as caring craftsmen.

Can you see what happens when we put children in situations in which their needs for creative expression are left unfulfilled? Watch the news.

It is cold here in Arkansas, and it is something of a shock to be back from warm Costa Rica. We have been going through our photos and are reminded of a gentle, beautiful place. The photo was taken on the drive north to La Fortuna from San Ramon.

Wherever you are, Make, fix, create.

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