Saturday, January 10, 2009

World-wide loss of traditonal crafts

Marcus Sly alerted me to a blog post presenting the need for a new organization in the UK for the protection of traditional crafts. These skills are literally in the hands of the makers, many of whom are old enough to retire and barely making enough income to carry on. Mike Turnock, sieve-maker is shown at work above.

Here in the US, we have a wonderful crafts organization, the American Crafts Council. But, little emphasis is placed here on traditional crafts except where those crafts are pushed beyond the traditional limits of the form. So what is often missing in those works is the meditative aspect, the repetitive quality that sets the mind free without effort or struggle. Most academics would regard that as gobbledygook. But what can you do when you are nearly dead from the neck down.

Last night I was reading a Columbia University professor's critique, Froebel's Kindergarten Principles Critically Examined
of Friedrich Froebel's contributions to education. While the author, William H. Kilpatrick was glowing in his commendation of some aspects of Froebel's advances in education, he found Froebel's "20 gifts" to be indefensible and of no value. There are tremendous hazards when you take education away from the visionaries and place it solely in the hands of language-centered academics. There are things that can be understood and made useful and yet not be explained sufficiently in words alone. If there had been no Froebel gifts, there would have been no Frank Lloyd Wright nor would Buckminster Fuller's hands have seen beyond his near blindness to create the geodesic dome.

Check out Robin Wood's blog for more on Mike Turnock's sievemaking. It shows a great step-by-step of a too easily lost art.

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