Friday, February 12, 2016


At school, I've almost finished a Jackson Pollack styled box guitar. In comparison with a true Jackson Pollack design, I've been lazy and not laid on enough paint, but the blue body of the guitar needed something extra to look good. I'm making these for no other good reasons than to make them available to the students in their music room, for my own pleasure and to demonstrate techniques they may choose to use on their own guitars. The the tailpiece, bridge, nut, pegs and strings will come next, and they, too, will add interest to the design.

In my home wood shop, I've begun making a small cabinet as a prototype of the cabinet I'll make in March with the Guild of Oregon Woodworkers in Portland, Oregon. I am also working on outlines for two articles for Fine Woodworking Magazine.

I've been a bit disappointed in the presidential primaries. While candidates like to talk about there being more education and that it be delivered at less cost to the individuals involved, there seem to be no questions as to the quality of what's delivered. Should we not be talking about ways to make it more interesting and engaging so that students would want to be there and be learning in the first place?

My daughter Lucy is in grad school in New York City as she also finishes her second year of teaching at Harvest Collegiate. In grad school the primary focus is in giving the teachers some coaching on classroom management, and the study of child development is an afterthought, offered only to the curious as an elective class. From my standpoint, understanding child development would be the first thing, not the last, for without an understanding of how children learn and develop, real damage may be done.

Too little thought is given to the untenable nature of the institutions in which teachers are placed. And for good reason. To teach teachers about the more "idealistic" progressive methodologies that take actual child development into account would be wasted in schools run like factories with immature minds going in one end of the assembly line, and smaller ones emerging at the other end.

I am attempting as always to get my students to use their senses, and look at examples of the things they make, instead of expecting me to be the one to tell them how to do things. It is so easy to work on the basis of assumptions. And so wrong. When we go through motions (whether as teachers or students and whether in the wood shop or public school classroom) without evaluating those motions in comparison with both a theoretical foundation and direct use of the observational powers the senses provide, our efforts are crippled at the start.

Make, fix, create, and extend the love of learning likewise.

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