|Kindergarten Children and workbench, 1956|
A friend of mine, and former student, Kathleen, has been teaching woodworking and making pet urns and crematory urns in Chicago. At least with pet urns and crematory urns, no imagination is required. You're dead by the time you need one. So perhaps I should make a change of course, and specialize in making something that requires less imagination.
So where does imagination come from? It's just like any other muscle. It grows strong through being exercised, and as we begin losing active imagination as early as kindergarten, and are carefully groomed to be complaisant and responsive consumers of standardized stuff, the market for creative work has declined in recent years.
The photo is from blog reader Todd Willmarth, and his uncle is one of the kindergarten kids gathered around a workbench in Spring Valley, Minnesota in 1956. The workbench is similar in height to the ones we use at the Clear Spring School. Thanks Todd, for a view into a more creative time.
When I visited at the University of Helsinki in 2008, I found my way (inadvertently) to the woodshop where Kindergarten teachers working on master's degrees were being taught to teach woodworking. The shop was right next door to the hall where Sloyd teachers were presenting academic papers (much more like social science research) on teaching various crafts. That small woodshop and the teacher's work there was the highlight of my visit and a thing that most conference attendees never saw.
Make, fix and create...