The following is from June Eyestone's paper, "The Influence of Swedish Sloyd and Its Interpreters on American Art Education."
During the early nineteenth century, domestic sloyd in Sweden entailed the making of useful objects for the home, including tools and farm implements, clothing and textiles and utensils. Peasant farm families in Sweden employed sloyd activities to sustain the prosperity of their homes, including education of children. In addition, sloyd objects were sold on the market, thereby providing additional income during the long winter months. Sloyd pieces revealed a regard for simplicity, balanced design, and resourcefulness. Traditional values of practicality and of durability characterized not only sloyd pieces, but also the people who made them. Sloyd was testimony to the peasants' spirit and strength of character which enabled them not only to survive but to thrive under harsh wintry conditions.Educational Sloyd in schools was invented as a means of countering the most destructive forces in Swedish society. It was based on the recognition that those who make, learn and grow through the process of making beautiful and useful things, thus become the foundation of a moral society and economy.
Toward the latter half of the nineteenth century, industrialization began to alter the fabric of Swedish Society. Two primary family functions, work and education, were removed from the home and were formally institutionalized.Time for Sloyd work was minimized when the father went to work and the mother ran the farm and took care of the children. For those who had grown up close to the land, factory conditions were particularly dehumanizing. Morale among the workers plummeted, resulting in rampant alcoholism.
Is it any wonder that with our modern American economy being what it is, Swedish sloyd and its impact on American education has been nearly erased from memory?
Yesterday in the woodshop, I finished a ukulele, and nearly completed a fretted box guitar.
Make, fix, create, and extend to others the joy of making that they may feel encouraged to learn likewise.