John was a student in my two day box making class and had been a teacher for over 30 years. He knows that the intellectual charge given by parents, grandparents and other caring adults is the most powerful force in a child's development.
Yesterday I delivered a hand-carved jewelry box I had made years ago to a woman in Berryville, Arkansas. I made the box for an article in Woodwork Magazine and it has been in my office for years. But the woman remembered it and asked if it was still for sale. When I delivered it, she said, "your work makes me happy."
Jacob Cogger at Waldo Middle School in Salem, Oregon invited his 12-14 years old students to make boxes following the educational symposium we held in Portland during my week there. He says they used my boxes for inspiration.
If you have any doubts that woodworking is a useful class to have in every school, perhaps the following photos will put those doubts to rest.
These boxes were bravely done. Can you imagine making your own hinges, either from metal or wood? Most woodworkers choose to buy hinges instead. Some are made with box joints, and others with hand cut dovetails. Each of these boxes is unique, and involves the testing of materials, learning the properties of wood, and applying skill, imagination and attention to an object that will serve lifelong as evidence of learning. Each is an expression of useful beauty.
I want to thank Jacob and his students for sharing their marvelous work with me. I can honestly say to each of them, "Your work makes me happy."
Make, fix, create, and offer to others the opportunity to learn likewise.