Bricole, Bricolage, Bricoleur

I love words that are fun to say and have lots of playful meanings. When I decided to write this blog, I knew I needed a name that would work on a lot of levels, to reflect the goals of the blog. So, why Bricole? And what is a bricoleur? And what might bricolage be?

Bricoleur is the French word for a tinkerer, a jack-of-all trades. I have even heard it defined as "one who engages in bricolage" - most unhelpful. A friend of mine once called me this - in exasperation, no doubt (I'll come to why momentarily). I'm not really a jack-of-all-trades. I'm not the sort of person who can build a cannon in the morning, design a modernist bathroom in the afternoon and then perfectly pair vintage to meal in the evening, though I do have a friend who this describes perfectly. I do love tinkering with ideas, though.

Bricolage - another fun word. Making a new thing from other things, essentially. Assemblage, mixed media, that sort of thing. Getting closer. As an educator and researcher, I definitely subscribe to the idea that one of the best ways to learn and make sense of the world is through the mash up - playing around with ideas and perspectives to solve problems. It has always worked for me (probably why I instantly found James Burke's method amenable to my own).

Bricole - a word that means either a trifling insignificance or a medieval siege engine or a trick billiards shot or "an indirect action or unexpected stroke." It is from this last meaning, and the others discussed previously, that I take the name of this blog.

To whit - I find a lot of things interesting...when it comes to ideas, I am a total bricoleur. There's very little that isn't's a problem...and one I hope to share with you. Different perspectives on different things. Outside the boxness. Having fun and playing around. Just in the past couple of days, for instance, I have turned my attention to David Klein's jet age TWA travel posters, British Liberal Democrats, Enceladus, the nature of innovation in schools and businesses and "365s," self-portrait and other year-long studies on flickr.

So - this will be a place to share this, that and what have you. I hope it's more unexpected than trifling...or siege-engine like.