Tuesday, May 17, 2016

my uke

My first ukulele is nearing completion with the finish applied in several coats, sanded between. It has been a fun project, and I have 5 more in the works. Parts that would seem difficult are not so if you have some basic experience in working wood, and on this uke, some of the hard part is taken away by the purchase of a Chinese made fret board, nut and bridge costing only about $10.00. For the book, I'll demonstrate making your own fret board on another project, so that those who have the inclination can make their own.

Part of the challenge with any craft is having a well defined set of standards at various stages, with regard to the fit of various parts. For instance, if the sides are not bent  and assembled square to each other, and if the linings are not glued in place flush with the sides, you've created huge problems that could lead you to start over or give up, so careful standards must be met at EVERY step, unless you are looking for something rustic that will likely never be in fine tune.

I often think of crafts as being almost interchangeable and craft skills as being transferable between various materials and products because standards of workmanship are required in each, and once having set personal standards of craftsmanship those same standards  (and expectation of self) can be applied in a wide creative arena.

These standards set to a high level in one endeavor may not be immediately met when a craftsman launches his work in a new direction, but having developed  a high standard in one thing, the pathway toward a higher standard of work will be at least familiar to the craftsman should he or she choose to proceed toward finer work.

So here we come to the problem in modern schooling. While the craftsman sets his or her own standards having to do with sense of self, he or she chooses work in a field that requires depth according to personal inclination. Schooling demands that students move along the surface of knowledge performing to externalized standards that may only rarely be internalized unless the selected craft is one that takes place within the classroom environment. Writing and doodling are examples. This is not to say that listening is not an important skill. But if listening was a skill actually taught in school, you would think that people would be better at it.

I am getting ready for the White St. Art Walk, and concluding the year at the Clear Spring School.

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


  1. The idea of skills developed in one craft (or career) being transferable to another is one I've tried to pass along to my students. They were always afraid to lock themselves into one particular career when they got a degree. It wasn't easy to convince them that what they learned in college was how to read, write and think.


  2. I am reminded of Siddhartha, who described his qualifications as he applied for a job. "I can think and I can fast."

    These days, too few students think and far too few are willing to face hardship. Where did some get the idea that if something is difficult, they should not try it?

  3. You've just nailed one of the reasons I took my retirement incentive (what we called "Please go away" money) and no longer bang my head against that wall.

  4. Actually, if it is difficult and will impress their peers, they will go to great lengths. If it is difficult and will impress adults, that may be another story.

    Rapidly developing brain cells that learn with so little effort are wasted on the young.