Tuesday, June 28, 2016

home again.

I am back in Arkansas and recovering from 9 days of intense woodworking at the Marc Adams School of woodworking. I had 17 students in each in three classes. One student, Mark, aged 82 made it through 9 days of class along with my trusted assistants.

I may in the future, choose to go only for 7 days in a stretch as 9 seems to have left me (and others) worn out.

Today I will be unpacking, putting tools in their proper places and will catch up on my review of "the loop" from my tiny boxes book.

William Torrey Harris was a complex character in American education. On the one hand, he helped Susan Blow to form one of the first public school Kindergartens in the US, and on the other, he led the movement to take American Indian children away from their families to put them in boarding schools.

He was quite literally an enemy of manual arts training and saw little value in it. As head of the US department of Education, he submitted a report highly critical of manual arts training that elicited a response from Calvin Woodward that can be read entirely (both sides) here: The Educational value of Manual Arts Training.  It's worth reading as it helps to illustrate the challenges that will be faced if we are able to proceed in an attempt to restore manual arts education in American Schools. There may still be those who are foolish enough to believe that the hands and brain are distinct organisms that should be taught in isolation from each other.

While William T. Harris was claimed to be a proponent of Froebel's philosophy, you can see how very little he understood of it in this direct quote:
"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places ... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."
Tools are the product of intellect, and the use of tools the means through which intelligence is created. Froebel understood that, but others did not.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the means of learning likewise.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Effingham, IL

This morning I am in a roadside hotel in Effingham, Illinois, relaxing just a bit on my way home to Arkansas. The last two days of my 9 days of classes were intense, as the small cabinet would have been best as a three day class. Given that the last two days were added at the culmination of a full week of intense classes, I felt I was not at my best and made some mistakes in set-ups that could have been avoided with a fresher mind.

My students, also were feeling the strain. One of my students, Mark, had been with me for the full 9 days, as had been my assistant Jerry.


I had kind of a fitful night of sleep, as my mind was reviewing and processing an intense week. I also had weird dreams about having a pet white rat that could talk to me and confide its concerns about society and humanity (and the lack of it) in these uncertain times.

In any case, I am on my way home, and am looking forward to being in my own shop, where my set-ups affect only my own work and my own success.

I applaud those whose courage led them to join me at Marc Adams School of Woodworking for any of my three classes, and thank them sincerely for their kindness.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the joy of learning likewise.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Box making at MASW

We concluded our 5 day class at MASW with a small exhibit of work a shown along with my students who made all these boxes with their own hands, new skills and design inclinations.

Today I start a two day class in which students will make small wall hung cabinets.

Make, fix, create and encourage others to learn likewise.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Ready for day 5

This will be my 5th day of box making class at MASW, and my seventh day of classes. I have been selling copies of my books, and talking some about eduction, how we learn, and why woodworking education should be part of every child's learning, regardless of age. Even adults need hands on learning and would choose it for themselves if given an opportunity.

Marc Adams School of Woodworking is the perfect place for that.

I was too busy during the day to take fresh photos but took a few this morning as I walked through the bench room. My students have each made a variety of interesting boxes.

Make, fix, create and extend to others the love of learning likewise.



Thursday, June 23, 2016

day 4 box making at MASW

Today I will be teaching how to make wooden hinges and begin making inlay. We will also continue installing brass hinges in boxes. Jigs are set up for cutting finger joints and miters, and it has become difficult for me to interrupt students to offer demonstrations.

It is wonderful to sit back every now and then to watch my students at work.

Tonight I'll have a brief slide show and guests are welcome.

Make, fix, create and extend to others the love of learning likewise.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

day two simply beautiful boxes

This was my 4th day at Marc Adams School of Woodworking and my second day of my 5 day box making class. We began making finger jointed boxes using dedicated router tables we made in 2013 for an earlier class, and it was a bit surprising that with only minor adjustment, they provided perfectly cut joints.You can see the finger joint jigs being in use in the photos above and below.

In the meantime, the "loop" that allows me to review my Tiny Boxes Book has been sent, and I'll have a chance to review it when I get home.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the chance of learning likewise.

day one, simply beautiful boxes

We finished our first day of the 5 day box making class and what you see here are photos. We had a design lesson, safety instruction, made a  miter sled, and began box making.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the love of learning likewise.

Monday, June 20, 2016

simply beautiful boxes

Today I start a five day box making class that is named after my second book, Simply Beautiful Boxes. We start with a discussion of design, will be making jigs by noon and students will begin a full five days of box making fun. I have 17 students registered for the class. Yesterday we concluded a weekend class in making tiny boxes and it turned out well. All the students went home with 4 kinds of box to finish in their own wood shops. As I explained, my objective was to get them thinking and send them home with evidence of learning.

My class starting today will have similar objectives. I have been too busy to take any photos and will try to do better during the week.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the love of learning likewise.