I have been delighted with Barbara's ongoing translation of Christian Jacobsen's book on Sloyd. He offers an interesting discussion of form and the purpose of an education in perceiving and achieving elegance of form, and speaks of form in terms rarely heard:
That development of the sense of form gives a richer, more correct and developed general observation; that the sense of form developed through one’s acquisition of concrete forms puts more thoughtfulness in the viewing of so many things; that the person can have his sense of beauty awakened, and feel an urge to refine and beautify his home and experience the pleasure of beautiful forms – not purely as a consequence of his sense of form, though it is a condition, thus also a condition that likely gives rise to the development of the sense of form, not least in the practical exercise that sloyd comprises – entails an educational lift for life: that is the main thing.As you can see in the video above, the stock knife or blocker can do as well as an axe or a knife but with greater force.
But with respect to this the mathematical forms do not suffice, as so far mentioned: we also must have the freer forms. If we think just of hand craft, it is not the mathematical sense of form that helps the tailor to make beautiful clothes or the shoemaker beautifully formed shoes. In carpentry, construction, and machine trades it is different. This rests on the forms in these trades being mostly geometric and stereometric. But sloyd in primary school does not aim at being a pre-school for some simple trades education. Should anyone believe that it should be set up with this in mind, one would have to protest in the name of schooling and pedagogy. When one finally has chosen woodwork as the best, notwithstanding it too has its shortcomings as regards the general aims, it is not to make sloyd into a school of carpentry. It must rise above carpentry’s idea of straightness and beyond stiff, geometrical, curved forms; must not be dependent upon just the tools of carpentry, but create free doubly curved surfaces as the wood permits. If wood did not allow of such forms it would not be suitable or adequate for sloyd instruction, but in my opinion it is acceptable. This is one of the reasons that the knife is such an important tool, and partly the axe as well.
Make, fix and create.