Tuesday, June 16, 2015

hurtling along and seeing the necessity of a slower pace...

Kindergarten paper weaving
I dreamed last night that I was hurtling along a long narrow road at break neck speed while calling my wife on my cell phone so that I could ask her how her new tires were gripping the road. She was in the car ahead and driving at an even greater speed. In real life my wife and I may not be living such a fast life, but we as a culture, as a nation, and as people are hurtling down a road we've never driven before, that's full of potholes,  lost shoulders and logging trucks. We have no clear vision of what lies ahead, and so it makes some sense to slow down, drop the cell phones, stop the senseless chatter and take some serious measures to stabilize the future of humanity.

One of the best things we can do for the future of the planet, but also for our own lives is to take materials (and matters) into our own hands and shape them into new forms of useful beauty. Working quietly with our hands provides the opportunity to slow down, and shape our cultural environment in ways that are far less costly to our natural environment than the life so many of us live now. The craftsman is not only involved in shaping materials, he or she is also involved in the process of shaping self. Character and intelligence are each matters of the hand.

In the meantime, I am preparing for my annual trip to Marc Adams School of Woodworking. My weekend class on Scandinavian bent wood boxes starts on Saturday (June 20) and my week-long class Simply Beautiful Boxes will follow on June 22.

About a month ago, I got a copy of the British magazine Living Woods in the mail. The Editor in Chief, Nick Gibbs had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and there had been some question as to whether the magazine would make such a comeback. So it was a good, welcome and rare thing to receive in the mail. Living Woods is about working green woods, using simple tools, and having the kind of life that comes when one is tied more closely to nature. In it you will find articles about coppicing, wild flowers, harvesting your own firewood, making and using simple tools to shape wood, and more. It is a magazine I hope will find readership in the US, and I wish Nick well in his further recovery.

In the meantime, Shell plans to drill the arctic, the presidential campaign in the US is falling into full swing. Over half the candidates deny Global warming  and the dangers inherent in what we are doing to the planet and its resources, and the whole of the presidential candidate field is literally out of touch with what the hands contribute to human life, and how they might shape the character and intelligence of our kids.

The kindergarten paper weaving is in the Tr√łndelag Folk Museum
in Trondheim, Norway.

Make, fix and create...

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