Thursday, November 12, 2015


I had a frustrating time yesterday with my middle school students in that they wanted to goof off and were not at all interested in the project I had in mind. I explained that their goofing off was unacceptable to me... That I had invested many years learning a skill and that I feel a level of satisfaction when I am assured that I am imparting some of that skill to them, and feel dissatisfied when they use shop time to goof off. In other words, I'll have to tighten up, and give them less autonomy in wood shop, but do so in a way that does not damage their creative spirits.

Part of the problem yesterday may have been the dramatic change in the weather that had been predicted. We were supposed to have high winds, and rain but received only a brief shower. Still, as any teacher can tell you, children are responsive in mood and attitude and readiness to work to things outside the classroom and wood shop.

In the meantime, I'm gradually attempting to get my own shop life back in order. My projects for the tiny box book are now complete. Fall production of boxes is nearly complete. With the exception of putting new base moldings down around some walls, my part of the kitchen remodel is nearly complete. The shop is a mess. And so reorganization of the wood shop, putting things back in their usual places, and a thorough clean-up is called for. I have plans for new boxes in the works, and had proposed a new book, Making Small Tables for All Occasions, that I hoped will be approved by my publisher. Unfortunately I learned today that books for finer furnishings are not selling, whereas a book about making furniture from old pallets is selling like hotcakes.

Go figure. When my daughter was in grad school in Madison they had “Hippy Christmas” when students moved between apartments and left things at curbside to be picked up by other students moving in. The timing of hippy Christmas had to do with the expiration dates of leases on apartments. The pallet lumber furniture idea would be a great way to make presents for Hippy Christmas. You can have fun making it and then walk away from it at the end of your lease. But it illustrates the direction of things. Who wants to invest in craftsmanship as that takes time? And who understands the intrinsic rewards that come from doing something quite well?

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the capacity to learn likewise.

1 comment:

  1. Good luck with your group Doug. I know things will get better.