Sunday, May 28, 2017


Yesterday, my wife, my sister Mary and I wandered around Portland and made our way to the Real Mother Goose Gallery, one of the finest craft galleries in the US. I saw many fine and wonderful works by many of the artisans who inspired me in my earlier days as a craftsmen. We also wandered through the Portland craft market and were amazed at the volume and quality of work.
Each material has its own life, and one cannot, without punishment, destroy a living material to make a dumb and senseless thing. We must not try to make materials speak our language. We must go with them to the point where others understand their language. — Constantin Brâncuși 
As craftsmen, the can force the wood to tell the story of our mastery over it. Or we can use our own handling of it to enhance and enable others to understand the beauty we find in it. In other words, we  can go one way or the other, and it often appears as through many of us are swimming against a strong tide that's headed in the wrong direction.

Last night I talked at some length with my nephew Logan who spent the last two or three years in  Southeast Asia on the trail of musical instruments and performances that are endangered by the universal culture that seems to be sweeping through. He told about his passion for languages that are being lost. The quote above speaks to a sensitivity to the language of form, for language itself comes first from the experience of life itself. And as we seem headed into a non-sensual, non-sensical landscape of fingers sliding over glass, experiencing no longer the world through our hands, we need to carefully consider all things.

Logan told me about the stringed instrument player, who when a string broke, went to his motorcycle and unwound one of the slender wires from his brake cable. For surely music is more important than life itself.

I can kind of understand the theory of relativity, but what amazes me most is the concept of quantum entanglement. If you introduce two atoms to each other and then separate them to the farthest corners of the universe, what you do to one has measurable and observable effect on the other.

And so what do the hands have to do with that? It may be too deep for a single blog post, but our hands, open or closed, held to strike or used to create, or locked together as a means of sharing our care for each other, are expressions of entanglement.

Let us be entangled. In education and in each others lives.

The photo shows all that remains of the battleship Oregon, except a scrap of wood (teak) used to make a frame that surrounds an etching of the Battleship that hangs in my office in Arkansas. My grandfather had given me the framed etching during my first trip to Portland as a very young man. It was a treat to stand by a part of the original battleship Oregon here in a Portland riverside park.

Make, fix, create, and increase the likelihood that others are given the gift of learning likewise.

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