Wednesday, February 02, 2011

thinking in pictures

I watched the movie Temple Grandin last night which I highly recommend to my readers. It is powerful, engaging, illustrative of the challenges of autism and provides some clear insight into the fact that we don't all think or learn in the same ways. It also shows that not thinking the same ways is a tremendous benefit to our society and our economy.  The real Temple Grandin helped in the production of the movie about her and assures that it is an accurate portrayal of  early her life. She was encouraged to explore her natural ability "thinking in pictures" by her science teacher. From her difficult beginnings, she worked to make animal husbandry practices throughout the livestock industry more humane and efficient, but of even greater impact, she has helped our society better understand the challenges of autism and the unique contributions some autistic children and adults can make to our culture. Her book, Thinking in Pictures, My Life With Autism is an important work for anyone who has come to realize that American education should not be "one size fits all."

Today in the wood shop, I'll be making knobs for the maple stand up cabinet, and starting the last cabinet for the book. And trying to keep warm. You might also enjoy Temple Grandin's Ted Talk, The World Needs ALL Kinds of Minds.

John Grossbohlin sent a link to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Poetry, Painting to Earn an M.D. Early manual arts educators stressed the importance of "not becoming one-sided" or narrowed in student perceptions of reality. Human health requires a broad engagement outside the realm of primary discipline. The arts provide a metaphorical context that is the key to creative thinking. All creative human endeavors are achieved through the application of metaphor, and if we want our children (and medical doctors) to be creative in their thinking, we offer them things like music, the arts and wood shop. But then our society at large has become "one sided" and some don't get it. Explain it to them. Use your words, or pictures or both. Make something beautiful and useful and let it speak volumes.

Some of my readers may be curious about how to install knife hinges. I use a router table technique to rout the mortises where the hinges nest in the ends of the doors as you can see. A picture is worth a thousand words, which should help to show the value of thinking in pictures.


  1. May we continue to transform our world into a place that integrates the passions and talents of each and every individual.


    p.s. Now let's see the knobs.

  2. A few of my students had the opportunity to meet with Temple Grandin a few weeks ago at a local conference. I wish I could have gone - it's important for society and the students with differences themselves to realize that each of us makes a contribution and each of individual education is important. That cabinet looks good. Sooner or later, I will spend some time and study Krenov. I love his cabinet work.

    Did you see that Make Magazine's doing a series of woodworking articles over the next few weeks?