Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I have been going over things for my class in Ft. Lauderdale on Saturday. There are lots of small tools to gather and prepare for flight. There are small show and tell boxes to pack safely in luggage for flight and there are books and DVDs to sell.

Mainly, however there are points to make with my students and it helps to pull them together in a bunch ready for use. One of the most undervalued concepts in craftsmanship and design is repetition.

I can remember when I was taking a pottery course and the teacher gave me a B instead of the A I hoped for. She told me that I was spending too much time repeating the same shapes on the wheel... that I should be exploring more and trying to do things that were more different.

And yet, what was perhaps the greatest pottery of all, from ancient Korea, wasn't achieved in an atmosphere of trying to be different, but from trying to be better, more consistent, and without the egotism that plagues modern work.

So, I will be telling my students that the evolution of my own work wasn't the daily revolution of trying to be different, but a gradual process, refinement after small refinement, and that if they are to seek meaning in their own work, it will come through the inevitable. Practice, repetition, practice. And again, I repeat myself, this time for emphasis... practice, practice, practice. It is the great thing about the hands... the mind can grasp a concept in an instant then be bored for eternity, the hands can engage the soulful spirit in a lifetime of learning.

The photo above is Arlo. He told me he plans to grow up to be a woodworker.

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