Tuesday, June 03, 2014


A friend sent this article, Why Drawing Needs to be a Curriculum Essential. If you study what's happening in American schools, you will find it unlikely that students are given tasks of communicating ideas through the use of drawing. And it would be unlikely that students would know the importance of using drawing as a tool for the development of ideas either. If a picture is worth a thousand words, what have left out of schooling?

Every day in wood shop, whether working to develop formal design skills or not, I am called to ask, "will you draw that for me?" Then as schools abandon cursive for iPads and texting devices, the natural movement of pen and pencil on paper are displaced by the poking of fingertips.

In this, I'm not trying to be a whiner or curmudgeon. But as we look toward the future we should do at least a bit to remember the past, when hand skills, art, woodworking and other forms of creativity took center stage in education. The rise of Kindergarten played a role in all that.

I've hand-carved a second Froebel ball in my spare time. I have a simple means of marking a cube to become a ball. It involves a thin piece of Baltic birch plywood cut to the same dimensions as the cube, and with a tack poking through at the exact center. I drilled a hole for the tip of a pencil or pen to scribe a circle. As a flat compass, it is far easier to use on a small object than a standard compass would be. The point of the tack serving as one leg of the compass becomes aligned at the center of the cube without careful marking. Just align the edges of the template with the edges of the cube, tap the tack to get it to enter the surface of the cube, then use the pencil or pen to mark each side of the cube as you spin the template on its surface.

The opportunity to develop and exercise creativity should not be limited to those taking art classes. Drawing has practical applications. From the article linked above:
"As a primary visual language, essential for communication and expression, drawing is as important as the development of written and verbal skills. The need to understand the world through visual means would seem more acute than ever; images transcend the barriers of language, and enhance communications in an increasingly globalized world."
Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:34 AM

    If you haven't already looked at it, you might be interested in this :

    The thesis refered to in this blog is interesting.
    There is no clear demarcation between drawing and marking.
    Full scale drawing for carpentry means it can not be done on a screen.(If it was prepared on a screen it still has to be reproduced. Using a video projector might give rise to unacceptable distortion and timber is not necessarily straight and regular)