|Hinge parts marked for sawing.|
Last night I watched as folks on TV tried to understand how a young and vigorous black man could have 3 vertebra crushed and his spinal cord nearly severed as he was carried around town in the back of a Baltimore Police van whose sole destination was the police station. The shame of it all is that when it comes to police and black youth in cities, black lives seem to not matter and this same set of tragic attitudes exists among some in cities throughout the US.
In Sweden and Finland in the midst of the industrial revolution, the proponents of educational Sloyd had recognized that craftsmanship was the foundation of community, and that to build strong human values required the application and development of human skill.
William Jennings Byran, a famous Christian demagogue had said, "Outside of the church are to be found the worthless; the criminal, and the degenerate, those who are a burden to society rather than an aid." I think that religion as a factor in the shaping of moral values is a myth. We can look at the long history of the church and its role in subjugation, slavery and destruction for clarification of its role in history. Instead we might say with greater accuracy, "Outside of skilled craftsmanship are to be found the worthless; the criminal, and the degenerate, those who are a burden to society rather than an aid." To that, I would add also that there are some outside the realm of craftsmanship who are rich and careless for the rest of humanity.
In this, I recognize that craftsmanship is not a term applied only to wood working and similar crafts. It describes a steady application and evolution of skill and artisanship toward societal good. Even lawyers, computer programmers and poets can practice craftsmanship. The Swedes and Finns saw such value in craftsmanship that they founded schools to provide teacher training so that all students would discover their own value to family and community through craftsmanship. I visited one of those schools during my trip to Sweden in 2006 and you can learn about it by typing Nääs in the search block at upper left.
|A small Scandinavian bent wood box.|
Make, fix and create...