Monday, February 01, 2021

circumstances command that we teach and share.

"The nascent period of the hand centres has not been accurately measured ... but its most active epoch being from the fourth to the fifteenth year, after which these centres in the large majority of persons become somewhat fixed and stubborn. Hence it can be understood that boys and girls whose hands have been altogether untrained up to the fifteenth year are practically incapable of high manual efficiency ever afterwards. "The small muscles of the eye, ear, larynx, tongue, and hand have much higher and more extensive intellectual relations than the large muscles of the trunk and limbs. If you would attain to the full intellectual stature of which you are capable, do not, I would say, neglect the physical education of the hand."--Sir James Crichton-Browne

Please attempt to name a concert pianist who got his start on the piano late in life. A friend of mine, Dr. Frank Wilson who wrote an important book about the hands, had written an earlier book called "Tone Deaf and all Thumbs" recounting his experience trying to keep up with his daughter as she was learning to play the piano.

It is important that we recognize that crafting is a social engagement, and that skills in the making of beautiful and useful objects are built in an intergenerational manner. As Sir James Crichton-Browne notes, development of hand skills will be an exercise fraught with greater difficulties for those who get a late start. Recognizing that skills of hand and mind go hand in hand, and seeing that our own craftsmanship must also entail the development of skill among those who surround us, commands that we teach and share and most particularly with the young, who's skills of hand and mind are yet nascent.

In the wood shop I'm making boxes.

Make, fix and create. Assist others in living likewise.


  1. This reminds me of the button box my brother made with our Grandpa. To this day he has a picture of them making it on his wall.

  2. This reminds me of the button box my brother made with our grandfather when he was little. To this day he has a photo of them making it together on his wall.

  3. Doug,
    I am continuing to enjoy your daily reflections on education and crafting. I thought you and your other readers might like this piece by Beth Tiltson from the Dark Mountain Project: