Thursday, September 08, 2011

the feelings that arise

There are two things that lure woodworkers back to the shop and from project to new project. The first is a feedback loop in which we see direct results from what we do.  This is a true gift during a time in which many work without seeing positive results each day's efforts.  For the craftsman, the results can be seen moment by moment as work progresses during each small step. When we are able to mentally and physically connect direct positive results to direct action, we see that we have power, we have control, and we have effect. These direct results are not only in the piece of wood we attempt to shape, or the part of the object we attempt to create, but also in the flow of neuro-hormones developed within the body that stimulate feelings of well-being. The second thing that lures the wood worker back to the shop is the display of the finished work. To see relationship develop between another person and what we have created is a powerful self-affirming effect.

In these two components are the foundation of self-actualization. We most clearly discover ourselves when we are lost in our own creativity, and if we were wanting to create self-actualized human beings as a result of our process of education, we would start children early on the journey of craftsmanship and the arts, developing tangible skills that can be shared with others.  But we seem to have other less practical goals for American education that have nothing to do with the feelings that arise within each child.

Today in the Clear Spring School woodshop, students in 4th, 5th and 6th grades will be making Costa Rican tree frog musical instruments, and the 10th, 11th and 12th grade students will be making easels to be used in art class.  For your feelings' sake,

Make, fix and create...


  1. Doug,
    Great blog, I've been following it for several weeks now. Having been a parent, and an educator (college English), and a maker (building exhibits at a science center), I find much of what you say really hits home. Please keep it up.

    Jim Dillon

  2. Jim, I'm glad you've found your way to the blog. Thanks for the kind words and for introducing yourself.