Thursday, April 10, 2008

I am here at Little Rock with directors of crafts schools and various crafts related organizations, and these are my folks... People who know the value of the hands in learning... People who are deeply engaged in the empowerment of others to reshape their lives as creators. When an object is lovingly crafted, much more is changed than the transformation of raw material into useful form. The maker is changed, too. He or she reflects higher values, greater aspirations, and increased competence.

I have this challenging conversation going on with the Provost of Columbia University. He was kind at first and then has chosen to ignore my gentle entreaties to regard the hands. But as a maker, I have learned persistence. Above is a photo of St. John the Divine, or as some in New York call it, "St. John the Unfinished". It is on Amsterdam, one block southeast of Columbia and serves as an apt symbol of humanity when the hands are forgotten or ignored. One tower is missing and the other just a stub. Worked stopped decades ago. Who in these days understands the value of craftsmanship and what it means to develop skill? In the meantime, if those engaged in politics and academia were to understand the way crafting shapes the lives of makers in finer form and in reflection of higher purpose and truth, they might glimpse their own potential to transform our society to be just, humane and enlightened.

Perhaps here at CODA we will form a hand tribe and with the strength of shared vision, make a start on change.

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