Thursday, March 22, 2018

craftsmanship at home.

Yesterday on the way to ESSA I followed the truck shown in the photo carrying large logs being exported from Arkansas. Based on the frequency with which I see these trucks passing through Eureka Springs, there must be nearly a dozen trucks a day headed to Gateway, Arkansas where they are processed, sorted, milled, with some being sent to China for making the finer things we once made for ourselves.

On the one hand, for a poor state like Arkansas, it's good to see commerce. On the other, it's sad to see such large, beautiful logs cut from the hillsides of Arkansas, without furthering the development of the skills of our own folks. The color suggests that the logs are cherry. The largest one, occupying much of the front portion of the truck, was about three feet in diameter. That was a valuable load of wood which would have been of greater value developing craftsmanship at home.

On a much smaller scale, I've been making walnut boxes and a postcard to be sold at the Incredible Edible Art Show at ESSA on Sunday, March 25.  The event will take place in the wood and metals studio, from 3-6 PM. It also celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the founding of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

To put things into perspective, the single load of wood would be enough to keep a single craftsman busy his whole life learning to craft beautiful, useful and lasting things. It will most likely be mulched into a stream of products, quickly made and quickly abandoned, without providing for the growth of American craftsmanship. When a craftsman is at work (I include women equally in this, as they are often better craftsmen than men), the individual's skills and integrity are developed and upon those features of human dignity communities form. These days, folks are scattered both in mind and heart. The hands and the skills and character derived from them have the potential of bringing things back.

Make, fix, create, and assist others in learning lifewise.

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