I’m really happy to see Spacecases in the window of Acorn Toy Shop on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. Acorn is using them for display and merchandising and is also taking orders for Spacecases from interested customers. So far so good. The orders are coming in and I’m happy this versatile, modular, stacking wood crate system I designed 12 years ago is still chugging along. There are more pictures here. (New photos are coming soon!)
Via the New York Times’ Lively Morgue blog, “In 1955, a 14-year-old with ambitions to go to the moon built a robot he named Gismo, winning the Industrial Arts Competition run by the Ford Motor Company. Gismo walked, talked and waved his arms, and he cost $15 to make. He was one of 72 examples of craftsmanship by teenagers on display at the Waldorf-Astoria.” (via silencematters)
So what’s wrong with us now? Can our kids still do this? Are they less educated? Less mechanically inclined? Are the tools of manufacture too complex and removed from them? Are the skills of manual labor devalued bu their surrounding people and culture?
I think the entire system of early childhood development and education is completely out of alignment with reasonable expectations for the life goals of the majority of American children and teaches them to devalue rudimentary materials and skills that were the grist for the mill of human innovation for millenia. I am percolating and bringing together ideas from a number of directions in which I’ working at the moment and hope to arrive at a cohesive early childhood educational philosophy in the next year or two.
I love the work of Maurice Sendak. I don’t agree with everything he says about what young children need to be exposed to, but that’s something else. He was a great writer, thinker, teacher, artist and human being. And who better to illustrate his last interview with NPR’s Terry Gross than Christoph Niemann? Beautiful. I’m sorry Terry Gross couldn’t reciprocate the love he gave her, but that’s how it is. We pass like ships in the night…
Antique trike. Photo by KR at Renninger’s Antique Market in Kutztown, PA. Totally walked right by it. Blessed is the wife who seeth all.
I got an awesome pair of boots from L.L. Bean for father’s day yesterday– thank you KR and HS!!– and I was almost as excited about the beautiful paper that came in the box to wrap the boots. It looks like an old repeat from their archives, unless of course they never stopped using it. Anyway, the illustrations are gorgeous; check out the movement on that fisherman. They need to add some color and get into making bedding for kids. Classic stuff.
Henry Cutler, the Brooklyn transplant industrial designer/owner of Amsterdam based Workcycles has a great piece on the stages of teaching children to ride a bicycle. Read for yourself… (by the way, check out that badass cross frame Opa in the background of the photo above. Gorgeous.)