A couple of days ago I glued the cover paper onto the cardboard boxes for my Chat-books – engaging myself in the detailed observation of the whole activity – I made nine boxes in (almost) one go so I could study a progressive process of learning – from a previous tryout I had found an efficient procedure: first applying glue to the part that covers the outside bottom of the box – then carefully positioning the cardboard box to fit with the pencil lines on the cover paper – next applying glue to one of the short sides of the cover paper including the wings – then attaching these parts to the box carefully holding the corner together – next do the same thing to the opposite short side – then applying glue to one of the long sides of the cover and attach to the box – finally the last long side of the cover – each time carefully stretching and making flat the glued paper which is a tiny bit damp – using a barbecue stick to smooth inside corners – completed! – I then leave the boxes to dry – the cover paper will shrink and flatten a little – the boxes will hold together nicely.
I observed my learning to apply glue to the paper – I use bookbinders glue and a flat brush with fine hair (water colour brush – high quality) – the glue has a challenging stiffness and stickyness – in thin layers it dries rather quickly and that effects the smoothness of application – it is a challenge to find the balance of the amount of glue to the area of application – not too much not too little – the direction of the brush strokes is important – edges must have an even layer of glue and no excess – that is why I stroke the brush from the interior and out towards and across the edges.
While putting these observations into words I realize I cannot catch the proper learning of fingers and eyes – all I can say is that my making improved when repeating the activity – as long as I paid careful attention – I wish I could have seen the activities of my brain – how the brain cells adapted and stored information to be retrieved for the next move of my fingers – (an accurate description?) – at some point my attention waned – I thought I was confident enough – wrong! – small mistakes happened – but finally I had completed nine boxes – they are as perfect as I can hope for at the moment – which means that the imperfections cannot be avoided – inaccuracies in measurements, cuttings and placements owing to the insufficient level of control of my hands, my tools and the judgement of my eyes.
A contradiction? – I embrace the imperfections – the traces of the human hands and eyes – but I also embrace the perfection as a driving force – in crafting and learning – though it seems to me ultimate perfection is unattainable for a human (but not for AI?) – and maybe I don’t want it – there is a quote by Nietzsche where he complains about machine made things – comparing it to hand made things with all its small imperfections – traces of a PERSON – I will come back to this issue.