Saturday, April 20, 2013

made in USA...

The April 22, 2013 cover story in Time Magazine, How Made in the USA is Making a Comeback, describes the resurgence of American manufacturing, once again centered on the introduction of new  technologies. This time the 3-D printer is at the center of things, making complex parts that cannot be made or quickly modified using previous casting techniques.
"Climbing out of the recession, the U.S. has seen its manufacturing growth outpace that of other advanced nations, with some 500,000 jobs created in the past three years. It marks the first time in more than a decade that the number of factory jobs has gone up instead of down. From ExOne’s 3-D manufacturing plant near Pittsburgh to Dow Chemical’s expanding ethylene and propylene production in Louisiana and Texas, which could create 35,000 jobs, American workers are busy making things that customers around the world want to buy — and defying the narrative of the nation’s supposedly inevitable manufacturing decline."
On the Fine Woodworking Website, an article suggests, The Future of Woodworking is Looking Good. This article shows a few things made by kids and suggests that others send in photos of what their children have done with wood. We have hopes that a national movement will emerge, and that all our children will grow in character, intellect and moral purpose as a result. In any case, we would benefit as a nation to once again think of ourselves as smart makers of beautiful things.

So what can you do? We know that what we do is more important than what we know, so it is not enough to simply read Time Magazine each month and keep up on trends. If you do woodworking with your kids, share photos of what they've made with the Fine Woodworking site, and join in the discussion of why it is important to engage your children in making beautiful and useful things.

On the same subject, this month's Wooden Boat Magazine, the regular insert supplement, Getting Started in Boats, tells how 6 people got their starts in boats. I wish other magazines, including Fine Woodworking, could take as aggressive an interest in engaging new generations in hands-on learning as does Wooden Boat. About 5 years ago I had asked Fine Woodworking to do a regular magazine supplement engaging new learners in woodworking as a way to build readership, engagement in woodworking and to extend love of woodworking into new generations. They chose not to because they were unable to find advertisers for it. Wooden Boat on the other hand, offers the supplement, "Getting Started in Boats," with no outside sponsors, simply because the job of building a new generation of wooden boat enthusiasts just needed to get done.

Each and every issue of Wooden Boat unabashedly supports greater engagement in hands-on learning in its practical, intellectual and moral dimensions. In fact, they offer so many examples of how parents and communities can use boats to get kids involved in learning hands-on that I often overlook special programs like the 6 hour canoe program shown in the photo above until later in the month. In this wonderful program, kids build wooden canoes in 6 hours. Then those canoes become the foundation for environmental education as kids then use the boats in exploring their river, the Navesink.

Another program mentioned in the same issue is the Bayfront Maritime Center in Erie, PA. They say,
"The focus at BMC is to empower kids with a positive sense of future and a personal toolbox full of skills, like critical think, effective communication, teamwork, and perseverance, that they need to successfully navigate through the rough passages most of them will face on a daily basis. We are not trying to crank out boatbuilders, or yachtsmen and yachtswomen. We use boatbuilding, sailing, rowing and paddling, and navigation, to teach the practical application of science, technology, engineering, and math, in nontraditional classrooms. It works because these are the things the staff here are passionate about. That passion cannot be faked; it's real, and the kids sense that."
If each and every woodworking publication were to take such an assertive role in promoting hands-on learning, we would have woodworking education returning to schools in no time. And often, doing the right thing pays off in the long run. The ever growing collection, "Getting Started in Boats" has become a valuable product for the publishers of Wooden Boat Magazine.

Tonight is the Clear Spring School Spring Fling, our annual fund raising art and services auction that raises money to help the school meet expenses at the end of the school year. It is a fun event, with excellent food, and the opportunity to purchase works created by local artists. As you may know, Eureka Springs is one of our nation's premier arts destinations, so many of our local artists are nationally known.
The Annual Clear Spring Fling Auction hosted by Clear Spring School (PrePrimary-12) is to be held at the Keels Creek Winery (behind the tasting room and art gallery on Saturday, April 20, 2013 starting at 5:30 PM.
Make, fix and create...

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