Thursday, March 31, 2022

If you missed

If you missed my interview on Ozarks-at-Large, you can find it here:

In the meantime, I've been getting some one-of-a-kind boxes finished, as shown below.

Make, fix and create...

Tuesday, March 29, 2022


Our local NPR affiliate station, KUAF will air an interview by Kyle Kellams about my new book at noon and at 7 PM today on Ozarks-at-Large. If outside the area you can listen through any radio streaming service. A longer version will be aired on the Sunday weekend show at 9AM Central Time.

Ask Alexa or Google, "Play KUAF."

Make, fix and create...

Monday, March 28, 2022

American Woodturner Review

The American Woodturner Review of "the Wisdom of Our Hands: Crafting, A Life" arrived in my mail box today. In it David Heim notes 
Readers of this journal already understand the value of one’s hands and the wisdom they possess. The Wisdom of Our Hands explains it for everyone else. Stowe’s book presents important lessons, taught with patience and grace. It merits everyone’s attention.

Make, fix and create... 

Happy Birthday Comenius

If John Amos Comenius were alive today he'd be 430 years old, and he being called the "Father of Modern Education" one would hope we'd have learned a few things, particularly about how learning works.

Jimi Hendrix had a song that asked the question, "Are you experienced?" And while Jimi may have been referring to either sex or drug use, Comenius asked the same in his request that schooling rely on actual experience as the basis of learning.

"The ground of this business is, that sensual (sensuous) objects be rightly presented to the senses for fear that they not be received. I say, and say it again aloud, that this is the foundation of all the rest; because we can neither act nor speak wisely, unless we first rightly understand all the things which are to be done and whereof we have to speak. Now there is nothing in the understanding which was not before in the senses. And therefore to exercise the senses well about the right perceiving of the differences of things will be to lay the grounds for wisdom and all wise discourse, and all discreet actions in one's course of life, which, because it is commonly neglected in schools, and the things that are to be learned are offered to scholars without their being understood or being rightly presented to the senses, it cometh to pass that the work of teaching and learning goeth heavily onward and offereth little benefit."

Make, fix and create... 

Saturday, March 26, 2022


The book review written by Will Sampson has appeared in FDMC magazine that's delivered to folks in the  woodworking business. In case you missed it, you can read the review online here:

Make, fix and create...

Measuring growth (and other things)

When my daughter was small we would mark with a pencil on the inside of a door frame how tall she had grown. It was a ritual in which she found pleasure, comparing how tall she was now, in comparison to how tall she was then. The early marks were painted over years ago when we neglected to tell the painter, not to paint in that spot. But the ritual of marking resumed and now there are marks for the growth of our niece Olivia when she comes to visit as well as Lucy's markings into her adult years.

Measuring growth is a good thing. Standardized testing is not. It doesn't measure the things that matter most—the ability and inclination to be of service to others. And the measurement should not be in some kind of abstract form, decipherable only to those with a certain level of expertise.

Last week  I thought I would present an example of finer workmanship to lead the students to attend more deeply to the quality of their work... On the lathe you can take wood to a very fine finish and polish, so I made a cane handle, and polished it a bit more toward perfection. I was hoping to inspire and persuade my students to take their workmanship to a higher level. But they asked, "How did you make it feel like plastic?" 

It's odd that feeling like plastic would be considered a compliment or that it might be considered a good thing, but it points out how little experience the students have in handling real wood outside the shop and how little experience the students have with the levels to which work can be taken. It also suggests that wood is a material that can be appreciated without reaching a level of finish emulating plastic. There are too many things made from plastic already, and things made from real wood may have characteristics and values beyond those expressed through modern manufacturing techniques.

The photos are of Wednesday's work in the Clear Spring School wood shop. Kindergarten students finished making their wooden treasure boxes and the outdoor studies class made bird sculptures, having so much fun that they want to resume the project next week.

Make, fix and create...

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Tuesday was the day

My new book, The Wisdom of Our Hands: Crafting, a Life was released yesterday. If you pre-ordered it watch for it in the mail. The book was 20 years in the planning and writing and a long wait for me as the publisher and I worked to edit it, and promote it and the concepts it presents. What comes next is up to you. Will you buy it? Will you enjoy it? Will you find it useful? Will you share your enthusiasm for it to encourage others to read it also?

Working with a small press I do not have access to the same level of promotion that's offered to the big names. So at this point, if it has a large impact, it will be because you've helped to make it so. The most valuable thing you can do besides buying it and offering reviews is to tell other folks to read it and share with them why you think it might be useful.

This is the first of my books that will not require to to have any tools other than your own hands.

This morning my kindergarten students finished making boxes and my outdoor study science group made bird sculptures in red cedar.

Our local book signing will be held at the Crescent Hotel on April 3.

Make, fix and create...

Monday, March 21, 2022

All hands in

 This is my guest editorial from today's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette newspaper.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Rex Nelson

Rex Nelson is truly a friend of the creative arts and has done a great review of my new book in yesterday's edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette:

Make, fix and create...

What happens next.

We're inching toward the release date for The Wisdom of  Our Hands, Tuesday March 22. Yesterday it was mentioned in a podcast from the Arkansas Times and discussed by editor Lindsey Millar with whom I had a Q and A interview last week. 

Many fine things are being said about the book, and I'll share a few links, while also attempting to keep my ego in check. Yesterday Amazon had it listed as #1 in "new project books," and while that may seem cool, it's not a "new project book" and its wider ranking among books being sold is currently higher than 30 Thousand. And that too is likely a blip on the high side due to the ad placed in the Fine Woodworking newsletter.

In the meantime, our hands deserve all the attention they get and I particularly appreciate this comment from a fellow woodworker/educator/writer, Will Sampson.

"What is the value of doing things with our hands in a modern automated world? Woodworker and educator Doug Stowe argues that there is a huge value in tangible work that goes far beyond the product of the work itself. We’re not talking here about just some touchy-feely peon to the magnificence of hand work. We’re talking fundamentally about how human beings learn and create."—Will Sampson, Editor, FDMC and

Yesterday my wife, Jean and I got books out of boxes so that I could sign them to be ready for our book signing event at the Crescent Hotel on April 3, 2022. A great delight is to relax with Rosie. What do you say? Is she too big for a lap? Of course not.

Make, fix and create.

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Sales begin on Tuesday

If you have preordered my new book on Amazon it will be delivered this Tuesday, March 22. It officially goes on sale on that date and we'll hold a local book signing to benefit the Eureka Springs Library on April 3, not very many day away. 

The Wisdom of Our Hands was advertised in the Fine Woodworking newsletter this morning that goes out to thousands of woodworkers around the world and the ad will also be placed in the next print edition of the magazine. You can also order direct from Linden Publishing.

I have been working on an essay explaining the cultural values of working with our hands that I hope will be published in the New Atlantis.

Make, fix and create...

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Fixing it.

There's a good saying, "If you break it, fix it." Unfortunately most folks don't know how to fix things anymore so we assume the things we've bought or in some way forced to be surrendered into our hands can be thrown away when our misadventures are complete.

But what if what you've attempted to take is a whole nation and your insistence on taking over wreaks destruction that will surely last generations. What I have to say to Putin (and the Russian people), is that "What you're breaking each day, you will be required to fix." It's called reparations. And if Putin and the Russian people he's bankrupting think they can skate back to Moscow when it's all over, they should think again.

During WWII, Finland had sided with Nazi Germany in the war as a way to protect themselves from Soviet aggression. It was not a good choice, and when the war was over, Finland was forced to pay reparations to the Soviet Union, with the Finnish people paying a serious price for standing by as the Nazi's invaded Russia. 

The Russians wanted their reparations paid in goods that the Finns were required to build or surrender. The Finns built a number of ice-breaker ships for the Soviets, and surrendered miles of cobblestone streets with the cobblestones being loaded up and shipped to places like Tallin, Estonia and St. Petersburg where they were used to replace cobblestone streets damaged by war.

What will the Russians be forced to pay? Will they put Ukraine back to rights? Certainly, Putin is not solely to blame. People may think they have no choice but to follow evil despots into damnation. But that is not always the case.

In the meantime, Fine Woodworking has a new book-a-zine coming out this spring. Two of my boxes are featured on the cover, and I'm hoping that I was also a contributor to instruction on the inside.

Make, fix and create...

Tuesday, March 08, 2022

foreword reviews interview

My interview with foreword reviews came out today and can be read online.

I thank Sarah White for an excellent review and for her thoughtful questions. In her introduction to the interview, Sarah notes the following:

This week is all about hands so look down and ask yours if they’re happy.

What, you don’t know?

Well, do you let them play at things? Are they skilled at chopping vegetables or knitting quilts or throwing pots on a wheel or landscape watercolors or working gold and silver into innovative jewelry? Hands like to do things, with our brain’s inquisitive help. We’re not in the Jurassic anymore, Martha, note your thumbs.

Today in the wood shop students made cutting boards and worked on the lathe.

Make, fix and create...

Friday, March 04, 2022

Garry Knox Bennett on Education

I have an interview today with Kyle Kellams from Ozarks-at-Large, a radio program with our local NPR affiliate station. It will be aired sometime closer to the release date of my new book, and the interview will be held at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts, giving Kyle a chance to visit the ESSA campus.

Then later in the afternoon I'll participate in a zoom call podcast with The site, is one that will certainly interest other woodworkers as it has useful features and reports including  a remembrance of Garry Knox Bennett in the current edition.

The annual Spring Fling fundraiser for the Clear Spring School is now live on-line for you to view auction items for sale in support of the school. Please attend.

The video above is of Garry Knox Bennett talking honestly about education.

Make, fix and create...

Thursday, March 03, 2022

a lovely day in the woodshop

Yesterday my Rainbow group (kindergarten) finished work with gluing blocks. They loved it and were proud of the various things they made. Later we installed bluebird houses on campus where they can be monitored and maintained. 

Of greatest excitement for the students was finding an old wheel barrow tire and rim buried in the muck in the ditch that separates our hands-on learning center from the field where the birdhouses have gone up. 

The students dug the wheel and tire out of the dirt (a thing that took some effort and strategy), and decided it should also become an instrument for their study of birds. It is now being converted to a bird feeder. This tells the story of how a bit of youthful imagination (and allowance for it) can facilitate learning.

Make, fix and create... assist others in learning likewise.