I am emerging from a short break after finalizing the bags and the mini-book last week. After a night of camping with my son in the Santa Cruz Mountains, I spent the rest of the weekend finalizing my shop set-up and lining up my final production run for this project round. In the next two weeks I am working to complete 65 thank you blocks, 50, 12pc blocks sets, 10 one-of-a-kind picture frames, and 20 of the smaller desktop block sets. Production is coming along nicely.
The mini-book is awaiting proofing and the bags and pouches for the block sets should be printing this week. Once I receive the bags, I will be filling them with a hand selected, unique set of blocks for backers in the order you pledged!
One of the project backers, Jane and Ed, have shared with me a story of their family wooden block set. Their daughter and our good friend, Abby, told me that her enginieering roots began with building her imagined reinforced-concrete fly-overs and structures with this set, and stated that they made things that can't be made with a standard block set. It looks like great fun and definitely a one-of-a-kind set! Thanks Jane, Ed, and Ab!
Excerpts from their story- "Growing up in Albuquerque in the 1950s all the neighborhood friends and I were intimately familiar with the blocks, building racetracks, forts, mazes, and towers that were almost as much fun to knock down as to build. My sister’s children played with them at our house in the 1960s. When I married in 1976 and we had our daughters in 1979 and 1982, the tradition continued with countless hours of entertainment and noise as castles, freeways, towers, and many other buildings were erected and demolished with balls, hand-made beanbags and little feet and hands."
"These blocks will remain in our extended family as a source of creativity and joy for generations to come."
Learning from blocks
Another backer and good friend, Emily, has sent along some interesting passages from a book called Montessorri from the Start.
"Wooden blocks are a time-honored toy we can use both to extend the child's knowledge and to encourage him to make discoveries on his own. Whenever possible choose items of wood rather than plastic for young children. Wood offers a diversity of experiences to children: the beautiful detail of its different grains, a variety of smells, the differing weights, and a range of sounds when different woods are struck or tapped. Further, wooden products teach the child respect for the natural world. They must be handled with care if they are to last over time. Wood is a natural product that the world has always offered and hopefully always will. Children need these experiences with objects from the living earth. They serve as reminders of our human responsibilities to the preservation and wise management of the natural world. Plastic, on the other hand [doesn't measure up essentially]."
I'm happy to update all of you that the mini-book is just about print-ready now, and I can't thank Mark and my mom, Maribel, enough for all of their help with the print process. And thanks to my wife, Amy, as well for helping with the editing/flow of the storyline. Graphic design is such a tedious and fickle process, but when it's finally nailed down, it feels wonderful to have a final product! I'm looking forward to sharing the mini-book with all of you when I mail out the incentives next month.
I have licensed all of the digital images and the physical book itself under a Creative Commons license. Click on the link below to find an explanation of the different licenses that you will see printed on the inside cover of the book.
If you can't see this link via email for whatever reason, then please visit my update page on Kickstarter to find the link.
Here are all of the mini-book images in order, without the text. Hopefully this will give you a quick "teaser" about what the book is about. Feel free to make up your own storyline for now, but you'll get to read the actual one when you receive the mini-book in a few more weeks.
To be part of building solutions for the future, our youth need to enter the classroom equipped with more than just an analytical mind. They must constantly exercise and strengthen their inherent creative thinking and problem solving skills in order to become fully engaged and active participants in our society. The creativity that we nurture in them today will be future citizens' greatest asset.
We need a new means of educating our youth, offering them new pathways into new markets in "green technologies" and sustainable construction/production practices. These principles will be a part of the foundation for the future. I want to bring something more than just a teaching credential to the public school system - I want to bring new ideas and solutions. The following is an example of an idea that I have for how to bring this project into the classroom for children to enjoy and grow from, while simultaneously having the effect of creating more demand for technical education courses in public schools in coming years.
Creative City Blocks in the Classroom
My short-term vision for CCB is to actually make, test, explore them with real students - everyone from pre-schoolers to middle school kids who are taking a shop class. I envision the middle school shop students actually making the blocks that younger kids design/draw and that the parents/teachers then upload to a website. The blocks would cost $1-2 dollars each, and all profits would go to the shop classes and CCB project. The students could also earn "points" or some kind of other incentive/reward for every block that they make for the younger students.
Creative City Blocks at the Market
I am also starting to plan ahead for getting a booth at the Sunnyvale farmers' market. The booth will consist of samples of Creative City blocks and other wooden children's toys that people can stop to look at and play with. They could then order products, get more info about the CCB project, etc. Anyway, to get a booth at the market, I will need to first establish a business and acquire the necessary liability insurance. I have been seeking advice on how to start a business from various friends and neighbors over the last few years. I especially thank one of my backers, Vesna's, husband Ken for his patient and extensive counsel over the past several months! Thank you, Vesna and Ken, for supporting me with these endeavors.
As always, any ideas or suggestions are warmly welcomed! I appreciate everyone who is still following along with this project and reading/responding to my updates.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
You will receive a personal thank-you note on a Creative City block.
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
You will receive a personal thank-you note on a Creative City block, and an autographed copy of my mini-book.
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
You will receive everything above, plus an original set of 12 Creative City blocks.
Pledge $60 or moreYou selected
NEW INCENTIVE! For those of you looking to support the project, but don't need a set of blocks, you will receive only an autographed mini-book and a 2x3 inch picture frame made from salvaged wood.
Pledge $125 or moreYou selected
You will receive everything above, plus a limited edition 2x3-inch picture frame made from salvaged wood.
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
You will receive everything above, plus a second original set of 12 Creative City blocks to keep or give to a friend!
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (11 left of 12)
You will receive everything above, plus a one-of-a-kind framed sketch that didn't make the cut for my mini-book.
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)
You will receive everything above, plus 24 additional Creative City blocks and a one-of-a-kind framed original drawing from my mini-book.
- (30 days)