Friday, January 10, 2014


As you can see and as I can see for myself, my latest book is moving foward to be printed on real paper. When I see a cover design, the whole project begins to feel much more real to me... that it will in time be published and in the hands of readers who will then get to make some of my boxes with their own hands. I had received the cover design as a pdf file and went my local printer to see how it will look when professionally printed. Holding a copy of printed cover brings a depth of reality that can't be felt from a virtual image.

The cover design is distinctive and I believe my readers will find this book particularly useful. Students who have attended my classes over a period of years have noted that my techniques keep evolving, and the book represents the state of my art. In addition to the best techniques I've been able to work out through making and teaching, it illustrates the use of  the principles and elements of design in the making of 3-D objects of useful beauty.

So even if you've never made a wooden box, and don't intend to, you may find value in seeing the principles and elements of design illustrated through concrete examples and personal reflection on their use... whatever you hope to make.

The following is from William James, Talks To Teachers on Psychology; And To Students on Some of Life's Ideals.
“Constructiveness is another great instinctive tendency with which the schoolroom has to contract an alliance. Up to the eighth or ninth year of childhood one may say that the child does hardly anything else than handle objects, explore things with his hands, doing and undoing, setting up and knocking down, putting together and pulling apart; for, from the psychological point of view, construction and destruction are two names for the same manual activity. Both signify the production of change, and the working of effects, in outward things. The result of all this is that intimate familiarity with the physical environment, that acquaintance with the properties of material things, which is really the foundation of human consciousness. To the very last, in most of us, the conceptions of objects and their properties are limited to the notion of what we can do with them. A 'stick' means something we can lean upon or strike with; 'fire,' something to cook, or warm ourselves, or burn things up withal; 'string,' something with which to tie things together. For most people these objects have no other meaning. In geometry, the cylinder, circle, sphere, are defined as what you get by going through certain teaching. I need not recapitulate here what I said awhile back about the superiority of the objective and experimental methods. They occupy the pupil in a way most congruous with the spontaneous interests of his age. They absorb him, and leave impressions durable and profound. Compared with the youth taught by these methods, one brought up exclusively by books carries through life a certain remoteness from reality: he stands, as it were, out of the pale, and feels that he stands so; and often suffers a kind of melancholy from which he might have been rescued by a more real education.”
-- William James, 1899.

The images appear to be a parent's worst nightmare, and a child's delight, and were taken at a time in which people knew a thing or two about child development and knew that education was about more than safely warehousing kids. What's best about these play devices from Jean Lee Hunt's catalog is that as she notes, they can be built by parents or by older children (under expert supervision) in a manual arts training class.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Doug,

    I'm looking forward to the book! I imagine you're even more excited.


  2. I am excited. But from this point, it will be a rather long wait. I still have to do a few beauty shots with the photo director has time to give feedback and direction based on what I've already taken. Then it will be in the hands of layout and art direction for a time before I get review pages to correct.