Saturday, September 08, 2018


My wife  and I are in Helsinki on a trip to mark my my pending seventieth birthday in November. I had been to Helsinki for an educator's conference in 2008 and wanted to come back for a variety of reasons. Helsinki is a designer city. The city is beautifully textured and for such a small country, Finland has an outsized influence in the area of design.

Yesterday, after arrival and checking into our hotel, we toured the Design Museum's exhibit of works by Timo Sarpeneva. The retrospective of his work is truly amazing. Among the artifacts are some of the wooden molds used in the manufacture of Iittali glassware. Sarpeneva was given free reign to explore new methods of creative manufacture. The videos shown of his craftsmen at work and of Sarpeneva discussing his work were illuminating. A huge body of work was collected in the exhibit.

The other reasons I'm excited to be in Helsinki have to do with its history in education. Finland is still the leader in effective and compassionate education of kids. Much of that, I believe has to do with the founder of the Finnish Folk Schools in the 1860's by Uno Cygnaeus. Cygnaeus had traveled throughout Europe investigating various schemes of education, and settled upon Froebel's Kindergarten. To extend Kindergarten style learning through the upper grades, he invented Educational Sloyd utilizing woodworking and textile arts.

Who might have guessed that wooden molds could be used to shape glass? These molds would be used wet, and as the wood charred, and as steam would be released as the hot glass was blown inside beautiful effects were attained.

You can find my earlier trip to Finland recorded in this blog by following this link:

Make, fix and create. Have effects on the intelligence and character of your communities by encouraging others to learn likewise.

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