Monday, May 14, 2007

A retired teacher, historian and writer in Sweden, Hans Thorbjörnsson published an important paper on Otto Salomon, and a book on the history of Nääs. When I began trying to get information about Nääs, they put me in touch with Hans, and he has been an incredible resource in my investigations. Being thoroughly acquainted with the history of Nääs and having gone into great depths in the study of Otto Salomon's letters, he has really helped me to gain an understanding of the essential qualities of Sloyd.

The most important thing for me, hasn't been the actual sloyd method, but that the philosophical framework upon which the sloyd system was based was very much in alignment with my own thoughts of the relationship between the hand and brain in learning. That framework helped me to find a great sense of confidence as I was developing the Wisdom of the Hands program. It was no longer based solely on my own experience but reflected wisdom and experience shared by others over 100 years before. From the moment I first learned about Nääs, I felt a strong inclination to go there. An invitation to present a paper on American Sloyd Education at the first International Sloyd Conference in Umeå, May 2006, provided the much hoped for excuse to travel.

The photo above is of Hans Thorbjörnsson with one of many albums of photographs from the early years of the Sloyd Teacher Training School at Nääs.

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