Sunday, April 13, 2014

The advantage of late blooming

Announcing a new poll at right. Below are two boxes made with a mix and match veneering technique. I found that I have a choice of mixing up the lids in the finished box as shown in the second photo below. I ask my readers to  choose which one you like. Both will have feet, pulls and hinges added later.

Everything these days seems to driven toward global competitiveness. It's not enough to play a beautiful piece of music and to have the sincere applause of your neighborhood and small community for having done so. Everything is held up to externalized standards. Folks are raised to have an expectation of broad impact, with little depth required. If there are late bloomers and early bloomers and if Justin Beiber is an example of the latter, let us each bloom only when we've developed some wits about us.

Number one as originally intended
Number two mixing veneers and lids
When schooling our children we feel compelled to compare them with national standards rather than simply encouraging them to grow in character and intellect under the watchful eyes of caring and compassionate adults. This too, is the result of a mass media culture, in which obsessive comparisons between things become more important than the things themselves. This applies to people, too.

Television producers have proposed a reality TV program for my small town of Eureka Springs. If you think of reality television, you will likely imagine participants back-biting each other on camera and competing in order to receive some prize and being voted off the show. I'm not sure if that's what the producers have in mind for Eureka Springs. I hope not. We don't vote folks off the program in Eureka. They plan to do the program here because of this town's reputation as being a place misfits fit. I hope they are not disappointed in the normality of this place.

It is more lovely than most can imagine being a part of a small thing. And most people don't set roots long enough to know what it is like to be a part of something larger than themselves for a very long time. And so while most in our culture are hungry for the next big thing that will sweep our nation and commandeer our attention for a short span, there is a great deal to be said for the Cal Ripkin effect. You stay with one team, show up each and every day to encourage your team mates, and in the steady humdrum duration of all things, you will have discovered yourself part of the fabric of community.

My father had a favorite poem that I rediscovered in a book of 100 poems for teachers of Industrial Arts. If your life's goal is to give rise to the persons around you and awaken them to their own creative power, your work will find fulfillment and it is why many people decide to teach, though too many these days disparage teaching and may have never known what it is like to be part of a community.
 "Isn't it strange that princes and kings,
And clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
And common folk like you and me
Are builders for eternity?

To each is given a bag of tools,
A shapeless mass, and a book of rules.
And each must make 'ere life has flown,
A stumbling block or stepping stone."
--Author unknown
I want to invite you to attend the premier of the Living Treasure Film Series in Little Rock on May 28th. The video produced by the Department of Arkansas Heritage about my work will  have its first screening at this event.

Make, fix and create...


  1. If you haven't already seen it, you might enjoy this. It's some advice to students that Kurt Vonnegut gave near the end of his life.Make Your Soul Grow

  2. Darrell10:43 AM

    My sense of order votes for box #1. My sense of creativity votes for box #2. They are both expressions of fine craftsmanship.