…And let’s not forget,
My involvement with boats has always been intertwined with learning. I don’t think this is unique. Every interaction we have with boats involves some element of learning, sharing skills and passing them along.
Boats teach us, and they catalyze learning. This is one of their greatest powers.
How do we begin to unravel the mess we’ve made of learning? For me, boats seem like a good place to start.
The last post broached the subject of the complicity of our boating heritage. It shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but it does. This disillusion strikes close to home. It resides in the silence of guilt and taboo, where our discomfort is unmoored from its cause – deemed too painful, intractable to any possibility of address – left to float free.
What strikes me with great poignancy is the way this state of affairs illustrates a wider predicament. Our surviving examples of craft are tied inextricably into our history. Our history is a chronicle of our complicity in increasingly destructive attacks on the world and life itself.
It is no indictment of either institution, or the schools and boat builders around the country who have completed the new set of whaleboats for this refurbished ship. Or of the motives behind the re-build and the intended usage of the ship, which, as I understand it, includes a sailing tour. Something this ship has not done since arriving on the shores of the Mystic River in 1941.
I’m drawn to articulate a distinction between craft and technology. It is an enormous topic. That is part of the trouble with it, where to begin, or, if we’re past the beginning, where to continue….
It does seem that what is required is a process of disentanglement. Technology is a term that appears to cover everything we do when we interact with the world, especially if our actions are effected through some tool. This is not a useful distinction. When we speak of technology today no one is thinking about crows using sticks, or our ancestors knapping stone tools. Technology today is an all-pervasive attitude towards the world.
The term Craft can be an umbrella for a different attitude towards the world. As with Technology, the common definitions of Craft aren’t that useful. They’re entangled with a history of resistance to the technological attitude, but that history, and our perceptions of it, are fraught with confusing assumptions. Similar troubles surround terms like anarchy and Luddite, for example. It is difficult to unravel this from the straw-men and projections that have accumulated over time, applied by the opposing, “winning” side.
The trouble with talking about Craft is that everyone thinks they already know what it is. Let’s take a deep breath and set all those assumptions aside. Easier said than done. To begin, here’s some of what Craft is not: Backward Anachronistic, and therefore not a viable way to proceed. Continue… Continue reading Cross-Post from Fine Lines: Notes on Craft
This design has reached its next iteration. The major changes are a deeper draft, 4′ – 9″, and a more burdensome hull.
Last Saturday The Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory had their official Factory One Design Launching. And the launched all three of the first batch of boats!
A warm and heartfelt congratulations to Brett, Victoria, Jesús, and all the students! Sorry I couldn’t be there….
Other shots of the day:
The Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, its kids, and the first Factory One Design featured at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Just got these images from Victoria Guidi, Program Director at the Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory. This one says it all! The Purple Lady – the kids chose the color and the name – sailing in the basin to the side of the Independence Seaport Museum. The Cruiser, Olympia and the Bark, Moshulu in the background. Read the rest… Continue reading Cross-post from Antonio Dias Design, Factory 1-d Launched!
Here is a post I strongly urge you to read. The Stades Last Stand. One of the forces affecting what gets written here is my sense of the need for something to be written. If something is not being said, then let me take a stab at it. But when others write eloquently on a topic of importance, well, then it’s time to give them … Continue reading Important Link
Looking out across an unfrozen yet still icy-cold salt pond, a boat goes by, reminding me of times on the water in winter. Winter sailing makes one thing supremely clear. Every time we leave dry land there is a realization that this reflective, undulating surface not only buoys us up. It is how and why we are there. It’s also another kind of boundary. Unlike a warm summer’s day, or on land, where the fact of our mortality, the thinness of what maintains us on this side of that barrier, is so easy to forget. Here it is ever-present, in the back of our minds, in the chill rising from its surface. This realization is hard to forget. If we fall in. We are dead.
Difficult times. I don’t have numbers, just impressions. World wide most people struggle to eat, shelter or pay their bills. The few with money and property live to prove their worth. So, we’re trying to find something to eat, working to pay the bills, plotting to get richer, we think we are the salt of the earth, doing what we are supposed to do, following the program, right, whichever one. Generalizations are never true, but you know the pressures you feel, the incentives you respond to, and the flavor of your dreams. Maybe, but are they creative and constructive?