Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Box making at CSS and beyond

We've been making a series of small boxes in wood shop at the Clear Spring School and the photo shows but one example. This one is made to display student made tops. You show a student a box and the student says, "I want to make one." 

Students will be finishing another type of box today.

The second photo shows boxes of a higher standard made by Ray Taylor's older students in NWACC's Construction Technology program. More photos of Ray's student boxes can be found on instagram. https://www.instagram.com/p/CdW6pbpI_9p/

Making beautiful and useful things should be a part of  every student's school experience.

Make, fix and create.

Saturday, May 14, 2022


In 2003 we finished the construction of Fanshaw's dwelling and invited Arkansas author Donald Harington to visit it. Students from our middle school and high school attended.

In addition to being one of Arkansas' most prolific and acclaimed novelists, Harington taught Art History for over 22 years at the University of Arkansas. His presentation might have been over the heads of the students gathered at his feet and at the feet also of two towering pine trees, that for Harington served to illustrate duality in nature and in art.

The two young men sitting at Harington's seem to not be paying attention. After the event was over, I noticed that they had taken notes, recreating with small stones and pine needles a forest scene complete with wigwams and teepees.

What was the value of this exercise? Can one ever determine such things? Will my students have memories of the experience? I do.

Make, fix and create...

Friday, May 13, 2022

Fanshaw's dwelling #2

These are additional photos of the making of Fanshaw's dwelling in 2003. The students loved working together outdoors and the framework of the double dwelling came together quickly with bent saplings lashed together with twine. Gathering the material to form the roof took longer. 

Unlike modern homes, Fanshaw's dwelling decomposed into the earth leaving no trace but these photos and the experiences remembered from making it.

Make, fix and create...

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Making Fanshaw's dwelling

Back in 2003 and as students at the Clear Spring School were studying our indigenous peoples, I had observed Arkansas' nearly famous novelist Don Harington's illustration of Fanshaw's Dwelling in his classic book, The Architecture of the Arkansas Ozarks. 

Don and I had become friends at that point so I asked him if any high school students in the world had built a replica of Fanshaw's dwelling. Learning that none had, we offered be the first. 

As our current group of older students is currently working on a wilderness survival structure, I'll share photos from an earlier time at the Clear Spring School over the next few days.

Fanshaw's dwelling was an unusual one, in that it had two chambers side by side, each with its own entry. Other than that, it was built in the traditional wigwam style of the Osage. It was built with the tools and materials we had at hand.

I will share more in the coming days.

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

Two reviews

 I got two magazines in the mail today and each featured a review of one of my books. Here they are:
Make, fix and create... Thereby reshaping the world in which we live.

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Front Porch Republic

This review came out yesterday. https://www.frontporchrepublic.com/2022/05/your-brains-are-in-your-hands-doug-stowe-on-forming-mind-hand-and-culture/

It is written by fellow woodworker Josh Pauling.

Make, fix and create...

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

A visit and more...

Yesterday I had a visiting woodworking teacher from Indiana who had come to observe classes at the Clear Spring School. Glenn Smith teaches wood shop and Chess at Forest Ridge Academy in northern Indiana up near the great lakes. I put him to work assisting students while he was here. It is always rewarding to commune with other woodworkers, and with other teachers, and when with both, it's a special treat.

Today my Kindergarten students, (the Rainbow Group) began making Froebel gifts number 4. When the blocks are cut they will have both sets 3 and 4 in their collections. It is obvious when playing with gift number 4 that it was the one most useful in developing Frank Lloyd Wright's love of architecture. I could show you a picture, but it would be so much better if you were to take a set in hand and play with it yourself.

Today, also, we began harvesting bamboo from an area of campus to begin building wilderness survival structures. The students, grades 7-9 were very excited and extremely industrious, even as a gentle rain settled in. The project shows the power of giving students real work to do.

With much of the early publicity out on my new book sales seem to be falling off. I'm hoping that it will take on a life of its own, and you can play your part. Order it. Read it, if you've not done so yet. Promote it to others.

Make, fix and create...

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Woodcarving Illustrated

A review of my Guide to Woodworking with Kids should be arriving to subscribers of Woodcarving Illustrated any day now. Watch for the Summer issue, or subscribe at this address: http://woodcarvingillustrated.com

Supplies of the book are in short supply as the publisher awaits another printing that's due for distribution in June. In the meantime Amazon has it for sale at above list price.

We're working on an article about kids whittling in school to be published in the Fall edition of Woodcarving Illustrated.

Make, fix and create...

a city that artists built

Back in the 1980’s in Eureka Springs, local artists Louis Freund and Don Kennett regularly attended Eureka Springs Chamber of Commerce meetings, attempting to give voice to the artists of our community in the shaping of our local economy. Their point was that the arts might become recognized as the driving force for a more prosperous future. Their vision fell upon rather stony ground, while in the meantime, Eureka Springs artists, selling their wares at craft shows throughout the US and in galleries downtown were busily promoting an understanding in the world at large that we are first and foremost, an arts community. 

We do, after-all, have far more professional artists and serious non-professional artists per capita than almost any other small town in America. And even from the earliest days of Eureka Springs, that has been the case. Artists were originally drawn here by the beauty of this place, and were compelled to linger by the support and encouragement we’ve been able to provide each other. During harder times, it was noted that friends will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no friends. 

Alice Walton has told how her visits to Eureka Springs galleries with her mother were an inspiration guiding her vision of what Northwest Arkansas would become. And so, while they’re busily building a community of the arts next door, is it not time that we all fully acknowledge who and what we are? 

We are a “city that water built” but we are equally and at the very same time, a city built by the arts and by artists. As we watch what Alice Walton and members of her family are doing, and as it was influenced by what Eureka Springs galleries and artists had done, let’s now take a lesson from her and them (but also from ourselves at the same time). 

 This being May 1, and the launch of yet another May Fine Arts Festival in Eureka Springs, let’s all contemplate the many ways that we can infuse the arts in our lives year round. I urge the Chamber and the CAPC as well as each and every business in the city to invest more time and dollars in the promotion of the arts and in the artists who call this place home.

Make, fix and create...