Friday, November 23, 2007

I am all set up at the Fall Art Fair and ready to sell my work. In the meantime, there is an article in this week's Woodshop News about a Philadelphia craftsman, Bernard Henderson shown in the photo at left who moved from a life as a college administrator to the life of a self-employed woodworker. He says:
"We as a body of individuals living in this country, tend to be more enamored with people who don't work with their hands, so the idea that someone would go from a job where they don't work with their hands to another job where they get dirty and the income potential is much lower... what they tend to do is dwell on 'why' you would do that, rather than 'what' it is you do."
Also, in the meantime, and in another conversation, John Grossbohlin told me of a hand-cut dovetailed box he had made for a charity auction. A woman bought it for the embarrassing low final bid of $30.00 and then clueless to its real value or the amount of time invested in making it asked if he would make her another for the same price.

Both of these tell the same sad story. We are raising a society that hasn't a clue as to the values of hand-craftsmanship. One end and the other. If people aren't introduced to the pleasure and value of their own creative use of their hands, either in homes or in schools, they will be oblivious to the values of hand-crafted objects and the processes through which they are created. This is the syndrome Neuro-physiologist Matti Bergström in Finland calls "finger-blindness," an impairment preventing a person from being able to perceive the intrinsic value of significant cultural objects or the people who craft them. As I have said before, we have become a nation of idiots, and we will continue thus until we rediscover the wisdom of our hands.

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