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 In Design Matters

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Artisan geometry. The template used to establish the “square” in this shop-made wooden try square was generated with a little help from artisan geometry.

The universal and timeless structure of our imaginations.

Woodworking spans the globe and is a common thread linking humans across the ages. This craft shares a basic tool kit across time and space with more similarities than differences. An artisan from feudal Japan might view a Western backsaw with suspicion, but would still recognize it as a saw. Tools such as chisels, planes and saws are universal and they work in parallel with a universal design language that is baked into both the tools and the way we execute design.

This language, which I call “artisan geometry,” was used and passed down by builders since the earliest of times. This blue-collar builder’s language was used both in the design process to visualize ideas and on a practical level employed in the actual layouts at the workbench.

In our high-tech world it’s easily mistaken as some antique method or set of rules that might constrain creativity.


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