Tuesday, January 21, 2014

what we'd largely forgotten...

Young women of all social classes learned to cook.
The following is from the documents of the Boston School Committee investigating the value of manual arts, 1898:
One of the great perils of this nation, as of all others, is in the class distinctions between the rich and the poor, and the barriers that grow up between them. A part of this difficulty, unconsciously perhaps, has arisen from the fact that many have grown up to despise those who labor with their hands. But manual training is the antidote of all this. When the cultivated teacher is seen dressed in the garb of the toiler, and when all pupils, rich and poor, work with their hands together, labor is honored and ennobled, and false conceptions are corrected before they become fixed. I believe it is not too much to claim that this whole plan of manual training, as it has now been introduced, is a new bond, drawing closer together the various classes in the city we love to call our own, and is helping towards that higher citizenship without which no republic is safe.

And sew their own clothing, and develop aesthetic sense.
We are once again in a time period in which the gulf between the rich and poor has widened enormously, and many in the upper classes being estranged from the value of hands on learning seem to think this is all natural and good. To be of some real service to humanity is the true source of nobility. And it is a shame such nobility is not a subject in school. Nobility need not be taught as a grand concept  but in the simple things... offering some small skilled service to others. Making a small thing invested with useful beauty might be a place to begin.

On another subject, I received a cover image (not final) for a new Fine Woodworking "bookazine" that will be coming out in the  spring featuring 5 of my box designs.

Look for this on the checkout isle at Lowes, Home Depot, and Mennards, and in your favorite book stores.

Make, fix, create... encourage others to join you in these things.


  1. Excellent! I've been looking forward to the book.


  2. Mario, this is an extra publication and not related to my new book that I've been working on. You will find that it reprints articles from my book Basic Box Making, and from another excellent book by Strother Purdy.