Thursday, December 06, 2018

awakening to interconnected wholeness

This morning I go to the University of Arkansas to join a furniture review panel at the E. Faye Jones School of Architecture. As a long time woodworker I'll be looking at student work and have been asked provide feedback. I hope to be both useful and kind. I doubt that many there will know about Friedrich Froebel and his impact on the world of architecture. Froebel had hoped to become an architect at one point, but became a teacher instead. His impact on architecture was far greater than he would ever know. Frank Lloyd Wright, in his autobiography noted, "I can still feel those maple blocks in my hands to this day."

There is a direct line from Froebel that can be drawn through the lives of every architect at the Faye Jones School, as our noted Arkansas Architect E. Faye Jones was a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright.

And what is it that Architects could learn from Friedrich Froebel in this day?

The artist may look at the world for the sake of illustration, as being composed of "positive" and "negative" space. I'll note that the "negative space" that surrounds the object is not "empty" space. It is full of the relationships through time and space that connect it, just as Friedrich Froebel sought to "connect" each child with the wonders of nature and human relationships within which each of us exist.

We are trained from birth to grasp hungrily at our individuality and separateness, and yet the truth of our situation is that we are deeply connected. I am reminded of the story of a zen master, who on his death bed, was surrounded by monks crying, "Please master, please don't leave us." He looked up and asked "where do you think I might go?" From the standpoint of "negative," relational space, there is just one of us. We are an interconnected wholeness, the complete sense of which Froebel had hoped to awaken in each child. I hope to practice that for myself as an art.

And so today, that will be my hope and my goal at the E. Faye Jones School of Architecture.

Make, fix and create...

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