Saturday, May 30, 2015

Out of touch...

new turned boxes
The following is from Sir Daniel Wilson, 1891:
Whenever the early and persistent cultivation of the full use of both hands has been accomplished, the result is greater efficiency, without any corresponding awkwardness or defect. In certain arts and professions, both hands are necessarily called into play. The skillful surgeon finds an enormous advantage in being able to transfer his instrument from one hand to the other. The dentist has to multiply instruments to make up for the lack of such acquired power. The fencer who can transfer his weapon to the left hand places his adversary at a disadvantage. The lumberer finds it indispensable, in the operation of his woodcraft, to learn to chop timber right-and-left-handed; and the carpenter may be frequently seen using the saw and hammer in either hand, and thereby not only resting his arm, but greatly facilitating his work. In all the fine arts the mastery of both hands is advantageous. The sculptor, the carver, the draughtsman, the engraver, the cameo-cutter, each has recourse at times to the left hand for special manipulative dexterity; the pianist depends little less on the left hand than on the right; and as for the organist, with the numerous pedals and stops of the modern grand organ, a quadrumanous musician would still find reason to envy the ampler scope which a Briareus could command." — Dr. Daniel Wilson, Left-Handedness. A Hint for Educators.
Out of touch is a term we apply to those who have no direct connection with reality. And so we need look no further than the metaphors of daily life to find a prescription for fixing education. It is time to put our children directly in touch with reality. But that is a hard thing to do when those we've allowed to be in charge of our children's education are so far out of touch themselves.

Stupidity is a self-perpetuating cycle that can successfully be passed half-unwittedly from one generation to the next. Failure to engage the hands in learning and making, leaves children out of touch, disconnected from reality, and lacking a basic, healthy sense of self. Matti Bergström called the syndrome "finger blindness." It is epidemic, particularly amongst those we've allowed to be in charge of the education of our children.

Today I helped a friend cut up a maple tree, finished the reassembly of a friend's broken grandfather clock, and turned some boxes on the lathe. These boxes are small crematory urn boxes designed to hold about 3 tablespoons of ashes. The original idea came when a friend asked me to make a similar box to carry a small amount of her father's ashes to be released in the Ganges River in India. With the turned crosses, these might be destined for Rome.

Make, fix and create...

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