Saturday, August 02, 2008

Joe Barry sent me a page from Hemsloyd magazine entitled Slödja med glädje och fantasi and of course it makes me wish I could read Swedish. The title could be roughly translated as craftwork with joy and fantasy, and the article points to the legacy of Carl Malmsten who during his time at Nääs rebelled against the insistence on the making of utilitarian objects.

Many educators in Sweden believe that Sloyd should be the means through which children's creative lives and fantasy are encouraged. And of course, I wonder why it can't do both... encourage imaginative work and skilled craftsmanship.

The photos below show samples from the article published in 1989.

I can't help but look back on the earlier times as being better than what we have now. Then educators argued about what children should be making. Now they've almost completely lost the understanding that children should be making things at all.

Subscribers to Woodwork magazine, should look for my article about Nääs in this week's mail. I am hoping for a revival of interest in children making things, in and out of school. Whether children are making practical things to bring beauty and craftsmanship to the family home, or objects of play and fantasy to bring joy and curiosity into their own lives makes little difference in comparison to lives devoid of the meaning and pleasure that skilled craftsmanship and artistic imagination can bring.

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