Wednesday, May 31, 2023

push button smart?

Today I'm making wooden boxes with veneered panel lids. The ones shown are white oak with lacewood and white oak with walnut burl. The interior surfaces of the top panels are also veneered. Your tools must be fine tuned to get good results in fitting the top panels to the sides. After gluing the lids will be cut from the bodies of the boxes and then hinged.
I contacted Wooden Boat Magazine about the launching of our flag boat at the Clear Spring School. While it's unlikely to make the launchings section of Wooden Boat where new and restored boats are celebrated, the excitement of our young launchers brought smiles to the editorial staff. All students should find such joy in learning. The excitement our kids felt was not too far akin from what boat building adults feel at launch time.
Make, fix and create... We must, in particular, fix American education, enabling students and teachers to learn by doing real things. I say this in the age of stupidity in which folks are push button smart but can't fix nuttin.

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

An opening for one...

I have a 5 day class starting on June 5 in the wood shop at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. There is currently an opening for one additional student, so if interested please call ESSA 479-253-5384 or sign up on-line. Students of all skill levels will learn and have fun in this class. Usually, each student will make several boxes.

Make, fix and create...

Saturday, May 27, 2023

teaching kids to carve...

My article about teaching kids to whittle and carve came out in Woodcarving Illustrated this month, Summer 2023 Issue number 103. The article is based on my teaching at the Clear Spring School. All children will at some point, whether in cooking or crafts will need to acquire skills in the safe use of a knife. It is an activity kids love and it develops the mind as well as the hands.

You cannot whittle a stick without observing and forming simple hypotheses building the kind of understanding of basic reality fundamental to science.

Make, fix and create...

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

loose lid box

Want a box that has a lid that opens as though it's hinged, but in which no hinges are required? 

This simple prototype is the key. The first time I used this technique was in my book Simply Beautiful Boxes, my second book. The piece of plywood is a stand-in as I finish making the real lid. At this point the box and others are ready to glue up, and  lids will be fitted later.

The way this lid works is that as the lid is raised at the front, it is confined by the back edge falls into a deeper groove at the back where it stands in place with no lid support needed. When closed, it simply falls into place where it is confined within the four sides.

I think readers of my new book, Designing Boxes, will like this box.

Make, fix and create.

Berryville Rotary

I was a guest at the Berryville Rotary meeting yesterday where I was invited to speak. All were respectful as I went on a bit beyond the normally allotted time. Education is a matter that is of interest to all. In my news each and nearly every day I've read of gun violence in schools and about the epidemic of anxiety and depression among  our teens. Our children are overwhelmed by their engagement in social media and they are not being offered means through which to attain and maintain the better mental health offered through the arts. 

Schools have become places where students are constantly controlled while being measured in reading and math and the pressure is on. The pressure is on. The pressure is on. And we really need to pull the plug. I told my audience about schools in which play is intentional, as we all learn best when our passions are engaged. When we are at play, doing things for which we feel passion, our whole beings are placed in a state of alert and learning is at its best.

There's a whole lot more going on in education than can be covered in a thirty minute talk, but the answer to the problems of education can be found if we each reflect on those moments that have been most instructive in our own educational experiences. When did we learn best? What were the pivotal moments that gave direction to our own lives?

I told the audience of my own "pivot point" when my friend Jorgy made the suggestion to me that my brains are in my hands. The truth is that the hand-brain connection is there for each of us, and we learn best when our hands and whole beings are doing real things. When we are willing to arrive at our own understanding of our own learning experiences we'll not need educational experts to dictate what schools must become. We'll turn them into laboratories where children (and teachers) learn by doing real things.

As I mentioned to the Rotary members, real learning can be messy and noisy, and the noise and mess are what you see when students are fully engaged. Get over it. Would you rather see kids depressed?

A member of the audience asked a particularly interesting question about gun violence directed toward schools. I can tell you of specific instances when I was bullied at school by both students and adults. The pressures to perform and conform can make schools a hostile environment for teachers and kids alike. Gun nuts will claim that school shootings are due to schools being soft targets. My own urging is that they become softer places, where playfulness expressed through the arts is allowed to come forth and students are allowed greater opportunities for personal growth and deep engagement.

In my wood shop I've been making pattern-veneered lift-lids for boxes as shown. The residue of veneer tape is from holding the pieces together as they were put in the vacuum press.

Make, fix and create...

Monday, May 22, 2023

White oak

Today Hunnicutt Tree Service (Aaron and Kyle) cut dead white oaks on our property that will be milled into lumber for future use. The logs are large and will make great lumber once dry. 

I expect to be able to make a number of pieces of fine furniture from this wood harvested in my own woods.

One of my blog readers reminded me of one of my earlier blog posts from March 14, 2016. It is about poet William Carlos Williams and his line, "no ideas but in things." You may  find it to be a useful read.

Make, fix and create... Assist others in living likewise.

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Launch of the CSS Flag boat.

We sent our school made flag boat on its journey down the White River. If you see it, note its location, call the school and send it further on its way.


Wednesday, May 17, 2023

SS Friendship 2023

Today in the Clear Spring School wood shop we made a "flag boat," that we'll launch in the White River tomorrow. The boat is made from white oak and we'll see how far it floats before being found (if found) and picked up.

Make, fix and create...