Sunday, December 16, 2012

Chopstick Hammer Heritage

The Chopstick Hammer has a heritage.  #MacGyver

(Apologies to Blythe for teaching Neoma this trick)

Recently one of my students told me that she was taking a class in archery. Her comment brought to mind my own short-lived flirtation with the art of archery when I was in the Scouts.

And then, as often happens with cognitive associations, a nano-second later I remembered many years before, at around the age of 9 or so, making a miniature* bow and arrow ~ from a bobby pin, thread, matchstick, and sewing needle.** 

For those who don't know, this is a bobby pin

Do kids still do that ~ make their own toys, invent new games, and entertain themselves with the products of their imaginations? You know, doing that thing called “play.”  There is pleasure in the process of playing with materials until you get something interesting. Taking unrelated objects and recombining them into something new is one of the reasons I became an artist and studio jeweler.***

It taught me:

1. Mechanical Skills
2. How to rethink the meaning of objects and,
3. How to make associations and configurations previously unimagined. 

PLUS, it was fun. 

Bobby pin and matchstick = bow & arrow. Don't forget to play. 

* Minium was a pigment, either orange lead or red sulphide of mercury, and “a person who worked with minium was a miniator, and the things that he was to miniate were called miniatura. So miniatures were originally the paragraph signs and versals, and capitals, and headings, and so on…and finally because they were only incidental, and therefore usually rather small, the word miniature came to mean ‘diminutive.’” ~ From The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting by Daniel V. Thompson

**NB: Even in 1962, Using this to shoot at people or pets = seriously not cool. We used it for target practice or hunting houseflies only.

***Assuming you survive the possibilities. It’s a wonder and a miracle I, my younger brother, and our friends, didn’t kill ourselves, especially when considering homemade gunpowder, firecracker bombs, and exploding marbles.

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