Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pocket boxes

Yesterday we went though some design lessons, some slides on the making of pocket boxes, and then began making both bentwood and band sawn boxes in the ESSA pocket box making class. While I only have men in this class for some reason, woodworking is not a gender specific sport. In fact, many of the leaders in the manual training movement were women.

Some may recall Ednah Anne Rich, from my earlier writing. She was the author of an incredible book,  Paper Sloyd. I had known that she was educated in Sloyd at Gustaf Larsson's school in Boston, and then at Otto Salomon's school at Nääs. An inquiry from a reader led me to research by her married name, Edna Rich Morse. She and her many contributions to manual arts training in the US had been mentioned by Charles A. Bennett in his book History of Manual and Industrial Education, 1870-1917. You can read just a bit about her remarkable story here. http://www.independent.com/news/2010/nov/29/ednah-rich-morse/

My point is that Educational Sloyd in its time, played a role in bringing women forward into positions of leadership in education.
"In 1909, the passage of Assembly Bill 1234 established the Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics. Ednah Rich was president. The school provided professional training in manual arts for careers in teaching. Rich was appointed to the State Board of Education, the first woman to hold such a post."
It had become commonplace to put boys in woodworking and girls in home economics or textiles, and some might think (wrongly, in my opinion) that the purpose was to enforce gender divisions in society at large. Certainly, the intent in Educational Sloyd was not to "keep women in their place." The photo above is one that I acquired on my visit to Nääs in 2006. It shows teachers at one of Otto Salomon's lectures on the history of education. An open mind might notice the number of women involved.

The building in which the lecture was held was the gymnasium where students were also taught to teach gymnastics and physical fitness. Educational Sloyd, in alignment with Kindergarten and the progressive movement in education, believed in the education of the whole child.

Make, fix, create and assist others in learning likewise.

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