Philosophy and Art

I have found that nearly everything in human life is enriched if your hands are engaged in its exploration. Doug Stowe
Cutting slots for miter keys to fit and strengthen the corners of a box.

The evolution of my professional life grew from three threads, carefully woven through years into a consistent body of work.

The first of these threads was given to me as a young man when an elder craftsman, guiding me through the restoration of an old car, told me that my “brains are in my hands.” I spent the next 25 years as a furniture craftsman exploring that notion, proving it to myself, and arriving at the conclusion that what is true for me is also true for most others as well. I’ve spent the last 15 years helping others to understand the power of the hands to reshape their own lives. There should be no surprises in this. The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Anaxagoras noted centuries ago that “man is the wisest of all animals because he has hands.”

The second thread was the realization that the woods that come from our great forests are too rarely understood in their great beauty and diversity. The fate of our species and planet remain linked to the fate of our forests. One of the most meaningful tasks for any woodworker is to awaken others to the beauty that surrounds us. To craft something lovely and useful from our native woods invites and inspires others to discover the value of our native woods and to take care of the forests from which they come.

The third thread was knowing that we have a responsibility to teach each other what we know. Doing is one thing, sharing it another. Sharing my skills with others accelerates my own learning and furthers the appreciation of nature’s beauty and the craft of woodworking. Plus, it is a joy to do.

These threads are woven into my body of work: boxes, furniture, articles, books, classes for children and adults, and my daily blog, Wisdom of the Hands, where I promote the ideals of hands-on learning and stewardship of the forests.

About Doug Stowe

Making beautiful and useful things from wood and sharing the experience with others makes for a meaningful life. Doug Stowe
resawing wood at bandsaw
Teaching a Class on Decorative Boxes

Doug Stowe began his woodworking career in 1976.

In 1977 Doug founded the Eureka Springs Guild of Artists and Craftspeople. In 1995, he started writing books and articles about woodworking. In 1998, he was one of three founders of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.

In 2001 he started the Wisdom of the Hands Program at the Clear Spring School, a small independent school in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, to prove the value of wood shop and hands-on learning. In 2006 he began his blog, Wisdom of the Hands. In 2009, the Arkansas Arts Council named Doug an Arkansas Living Treasure for his work with wood and in education.

He has published over 100 articles in various woodworking magazines and educational journals and has written 14 books on woodworking techniques, and one on the philosophy of learning through crafts.

Doug continues to work daily in his own shop, and to travel around teaching adult woodworking classes for schools and clubs.

He lives in a hardwood forest at the edge of Eureka Springs, Arkansas, with his wife, Jean.

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