Monday, May 16, 2011

can't shake a stick

Anyone who has been around kids for just a bit of time, will know that holding a stick brings flights of imagination. I remember watching one of my students about 40 years ago, standing at the top of a slide on the playground holding s stick. Held above his head, he proclaimed it an umbrella, extended, it became a sword, a bat and several other things besides.

I am here in New York for Lucy's graduation. Without my conventional tools, I've dressed in suit and tie to make up for being naked in comparison. A panhandler in the street referred to me as "Hey, Mr. Businessman" though I'm a long ways from that.

In the woodshop, there is a constant temptation for kid to pick up sticks, dowels or boards, and to wave them as did Adam in taming the wild beasts. There are deep seated primal concerns when we handle common objects, and so I can see clear reasons why many American classrooms have evolved toward being object free. There are complexities involved in management of things. One of the things we are in here in New York to do is to gather Lucy's things and arrange for their safe transportation to Arkansas. At University Hardware, I purchased 8 large shipping boxes which will be packed and sent by parcel post. And so, I can commiserate with those teachers who lean toward object free lessons. But remove the object and you have lost connection with objective. What if we became so diminished in actual capacity that we could no longer shake a stick?

Have you ever attended a symphony performance? Have you noticed that orchestra students can be brought to perfect attention, and that what arises in the presence of instruments can bring delight and surprise?

John Grossbohlin has informed me that Chris Schwarz has given kind mention of the blog and sloyd in the June issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, which is still for sale in your local magazine outlet store.

Make, fix and create.

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