Saturday, December 01, 2012

the character of the craftsman...

Sir Phillip Magnus, writing as director of the City and Guilds of the London Institute, wrote about the need for all children to have training in the wood shop.
"It cannot be too often repeated that the object of workshop practice, as a part of general education, is not to teach a boy a trade, but to develop his faculties and to give him manual skill; that, although the carpenter's bench the turner's lathe are employed as instrument of such training, the object of the instruction is not to create carpenters or joiners, but to familiarize the pupil with the properties of such common substances as wood and iron, to teach the hand and eye to work in unison, to accustom the pupil to exact measurements, and to enable him by the use of tools to produce actual things from drawings that represent them."
According to Charles A. Bennett's History of Manual and Industrial Education Sir Phillip Magnus offered proof that "a child's literary education would not suffer by devoting a part of the regular school time to manual instruction."

One of the important things one gets when woodworking is well taught, is a sense of connection between the development of human culture as it intersects the natural world. Another is the sense of one's own value as a craftsman and maker of beautiful and useful things. A third thing is the development of intellect, and a fourth thing, the ability to conceptualize and then bring one's own concepts into fruition. Instead, we've created schools in which students are taught passivity and to believe without testing data and material in their own hands... We may keep them safely entertained and distracted, but is that what schooling should be about?

Today in my own wood shop, I'm sanding the lids of boxes, preparing the second set to be laser engraved.

Make, fix and create...

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