Making as thinking and process are two of the main components in my creative practice. I believe very strongly in the value and importance of forming, shaping and the physical connection that an artist has to the work and how that connection feeds and nourishes the idea. So often I encounter works that begin as a concept that some clever artist extracted from an academic or theoretical text. They then proceed to manifest that idea as some thing, some illustration of this clever idea. There is no dialogue between the work and the idea, no synthesis or conversation or evolution. The object exists as the end product of a one way, linear illustration. I often find this one dimensional work thin and rather boring.
Frank WIlson's, The Hand looks at how the hand is not merely the servant of the brain; carrying out tasks that the brain commands. He looks at the two way street that exists between the hand and brain and how the hand ignites thinking and learning. Here is an excerpt:
Since the Industrial Revolution, parents have expected that organized educational systems will tame and modernize their children and "prepare them for life." Such is the theory. But education-ritualized, formal education, at least- is not an all-purpose solution to the problem of inexperience and the mental immaturity among the young. I was completely unprepared for the frequency with which I hear the people whom I interviewed either dismiss of actively denounce the time they had spent in school. Most of my interview subjects, although I never asked them directly, said quite forcefully that they had clarified their own thinking and their lives as a result of what they were doing with their hands. Not only were most of them essentially self-taught, but a few had engineered their personally unique repertoire of skills and expertise in open retreat from painful experiences in a school system that had dictated the form and content of their education in order to prepare them for a life modeled on conventional norms of success.
I incorporate a heavy emphasis on creative practice and making in my teaching for this reason. Students who are given the space to work with their hands realize concepts more effectively.