Monday, May 30, 2016

from the mast of a ship...

A friend in Stavanger, Norway, Knud Lunde, sent a photo of shaker tables he made for an exhibit of his hobby club, proving it is true that woods and woodworking connect us into the fabric of life in ways that should never be ignored.
"One (foreground at left) was a Douglas fir from an 18 m long ship’s mast that drifted a shore on a beach south of Stavanger in 1923. It was collected by a local farmer who cut it in four to use as roof beams in his barn he built in 1924. When his son (a keen woodworker/turner and club member now in his 80’s and still very active) rebuilt the barn in the 1980’s he saved the beams, and gave me a 2m long piece a few years back."
To use wood that was once the mast of a ship, that was then a barn, and then saved for use and shared in the making of even finer things (though nothing might be finer than the mast of a ship) shows how the human imagination and the human spirit work. In woodworking, we tell our stories, drawing connections between things and each other, and in doing so, preserve and nourish human culture, and thereby encourage others in making their own contributions to it and to discoveries within themselves. (Was this what Froebel meant by the term Gliedganzes?) It seems fitting that a Shaker table (an American idea) be made from a mast originating in the Pacific Northwest. For that mast to have shown up in Stavanger, told the frightening story of a sailing ship having been dis-masted at sea.

Norway has a long history of reuse and recylcing, and much of the old trading city of Bergen was built from parts salvaged from old ships.

I have a simple theory as to why students who study science narrowly and in depth, and according to interest perform better on standardized tests than those students who are force fed a broad array of information. While most teachers are trying their best to cover all the information in a text book in its full breadth, students who have journeyed more deeply (and hands-on) into a specific area of study gain a better understanding of scientific process and with it, greater capacity to intuit right and wrong answers. And then there's the passion, too, that arises when a student does real things.

Is that simple, or what?

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the opportunity to love learning likewise.

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