Thursday, October 02, 2014

making birdies...

Yesterday, my elementary school students began making wooden birds, as part of their study of ornithology.

Randall sent a link on "How to avoid a fully automated future." So much has already been automated, that there is no turning back. But there are rewards of the spirit, character and intellect that come from doing things by hand. It is important to talk about such things as we make individual decisions concerning how we want to live and as we may influence others.

The point is not to shut down the digital age, but rather to simply rejoice in what we can do by hand if we make an investment in practice and skill. Everything digital is designed to make easy what had been hard and that required skill. But doing difficult things well is the foundation from which human character and intelligence are nourished and grown.

In the meantime, if you watch cable or satellite TV, you will have seen more than enough reality TV. There are cooking shows, travel shows, Naked and Afraid (folks attempting to survive in the wilderness without clothes), and every kind of show anyone has imagined thus far. Take your choice. There are shows about Swamp People, Pawn Stars, junk dealers and Ice Road Truckers.  YOu can watch extreme helicopter logging if you like. It used to be that folks would watch woodworking with Norm or some fishing show to get a dose of reality, but now the offerings are expanded over 100 fold... which I guess means more folks watching TV. You know the old adage, "I just love work. I can sit here and watch it all day."

What does this tell us about our fully automated future? It tells us that it has gotten easier to produce video, and cheap, too. But that people are still drawn to real things and the actions required to contend with the physical world.  But, I have always found it better to watch my own hands at work than to waste time on TV. In the wood shop (and having spent years in practice) I can make products with useful beauty, that I've been able to sell and support my family. And I can assure you that it there are feelings of pride and pleasure when you look back through the process, and behold what you have done. Does anyone having watched TV ever derive a sense of accomplishment from it?

The sketchup illustration below shows the process of cuts for making birdies. Shaping with rasp and sanding strips comes next, then wings and stand will come next week. You can click on the image to see it in a larger size. The dimensions given are approximate.

cutting the parts for wooden birdies
I am also getting ready for Eureka Palooza, an open house on Friday, and the kick-off to the celebration of Clear Spring School's 40th anniversary. Today int eh CSS woodshop, I gave my upper level students a test in sketchup. It consisted of a set of instructions for them to follow to create a specific form. Unless they can follow directions to a T, they will be impaired in the use of the software.

Make, fix and create...

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