Tuesday, July 02, 2013

today in the wood shop...

I am beginning to prepare for my box making class with the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. I am milling some materials in advance, so that we can launch ourselves quickly into work. It will be a small class with one returning student from years past.

I am also putting lid supports on boxes, lining interiors and getting them ready to sell. My inventory keeps growing and needs to be dispersed and sold.

The notion that someone could learn important educational values from making things is a concept that seems to have escaped consideration in modern academia. A Clear Spring parent had observed that in normal classes, a student might learn something about the world, but in wood shop that student learns about him or herself.

Uno Cygnaeus wrote to Otto Salomon on Sept 29, 1881 about the origins of his ideas concerning the educational value of crafts. First he told that his own father had taken him to work shops where he had seen craftsmen at work. His father had introduced him to carving and lathework at which he became quite good by age 12. As an adult he became interested in investigating educational methods and first studied the "Philanthropic School," which had a program of crafts:
"taught by journeymen and other craftsmen, who without any pedagogical training practiced it like a craft fully neglecting the pedagogical, educational, meaning of handicrafts."
He wrote:
"After becoming familiarized more thoroughly with the writings of Pestalozzi the idea of handicraft as a formal educative tool in school became clear to me. As is generally known, Pestalozzi started a fight against the old scholastic grinding away and the conservatism of thoughtless memorization and presented as an improvement among other things the ‘object-lessons’ and generally a teaching method educating through observational, developmental approach. It is also well-known, that Pestalozzi himself and even more his blind imitators fell in so called observation, thinking and speaking practice in tedious, empty blabbing, which was everything else but not developmental, pedagogic.

So came Fröbel and stated, that observation is not enough for a child when trying to understand with sight and touch the artifacts and to describe them, but the children must be taught as early as possible to give form themselves for what they comprehend with their eyes and to produce something through their own work. For this Fröbel created the play tasks, which at first consisted of a ball, a cube and as a mediator a cylinder; further basketry, construction with joints, drawings, sticks, etc."
Hi own educational methods which served as the foundation for education in Finland's folk schools we intended to carry Froebel's insight to a higher level. When engaged in the process of making beautiful and useful things, one is also engaged in the creation and recreation of self. Speaking of which, I received a series of photos from my student Rich Escallier at Marc Adams School.

The box is designed to hold various things for playing the guitar... strings, picks, capo and even nail clippers. The closed view is shown at the above, and the various layers inside are shown at left and  below, culminating with a secret compartment covered with a door made using the inlay strip I made as a demonstration in class.

Rich made effective use of surprise. As you enter the relatively simple box, you go deeper and deeper, layer by layer into the box and its uses.

Please notice the use of thin pieces of walnut that connect various parts. These thin pieces are fitted into tiny saw kerfs, carefully cut by hand.

 Make, fix and create...

No comments:

Post a Comment