Wednesday, February 28, 2018

studio thinking...

Yesterday I had planned to have the students paint the outsides of our boats, but upon learning that we would have rain in the afternoon, we held off. The paint needs time to dry before being exposed to rain. So I went to pick up wood instead.

Wayne Capp's sawmill prepared twenty-two 3/4 in. thick 8 in. wide white oak boards for my summer class in making Viking chests. They will be dried and planed to 1/2 in. thick before use. That wood is now stickered and drying in the ESSA wood working studio.

The Viking chest class can be found online at this url: There are still spaces available. In this class, you will make a wooden chest, and under the guidance of blacksmith Bob Patrick make the hardware for it. After two days of woodworking, and two days of forging iron, all the students will come together to finish the chests.

I am writing reports for my students' spring conferences at the end of the week. I am reminded of the Harvard University concept, "Studio thinking." It is a term that fits well, what my students love in wood shop. Studio thinking is described at Harvard as the foundation for the arts and sciences. It involves direct exploration of both mind and physical reality utilizing the tools and materials at hand.
“The discoveries of science, the works of art are explorations — more, are explosions, of a hidden likeness. The discoverer or the artist presents in them two aspects of nature and fuses them into one. This is the act of creation, in which an original thought is born, and it is the same act in original science and original art.” —Jacob Bronowski
While my students carry home a seemingly endless stream of wood working projects, the real product is something that happens within the mind and heart and hands of the child.

What we hold in our hands is who we are. Hold a hammer you're one thing. Hold a gun, you're another. I prefer hand planes, chisels and other finely crafted tools that allow me to make useful beauty. Is there anyone at the NRA or in the Congress capable of understanding that?

The photo shows a simple way of marking the waterline on a Bevins skiff using a cardboard box and a flat carpenter's pencil. The box and pencil slide along the ground to mark a straight line.

Make, fix and create...

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