Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Narrative crafts?

A narrative is a story that is created in a constructive format (as a work of writing, speech, poetry, prose, pictures, song, motion pictures, video games, theater or dance) that describes a sequence of fictional or non-fictional events. It derives from the Latin verb narrare, which means "to recount" and is related to the adjective gnarus, meaning "knowing" or "skilled". - wikipeida
And so in this interesting list of narrative forms you, if you are a craftsman will see a glaring oversight... that of crafts. Are crafts a narrative expression? If you begin to understand that they are, it can change the way that they are viewed. It can change also the way we work as we ask, "what is the story here that I am trying to tell?" It is my contention that the physical realities engaged through the making of beautiful and useful objects is more vital, more sincere than those narrative forms dependent on written or spoken words alone. It is tragic that many viewers of crafts know too little of the creative language of form and technique to understand the narrative content. The story of how things are made is richly entertaining. And so it is with making a box. Like a poet, great playwright or novelist, a craftsman is also engaged in narration, revealing his or her own creative soul in material story form.

On another subject, Diane Ravitch has a new book out about education called the Death and Life of the Great American School. It is refreshing to see such intellectual honesty. As noted in a Time Magazine review, "It is always fascinating to see someone renounce previously held beliefs." Ravitch, as Assistant Secretary of Education had been a passionate supporter of charter schools, standardized testing and merit pay, but now offers a 180 degree contrary view to the current educational reform movement. As mentioned in the Time Magazine review, "such unabashed 180s are a rare sight both in politics--where an opinion once stated is by necessity an opinion forever defended--and in academia, which is only slightly less afflicted by the cult of the certain." Time gives Ravitch's new book a "read" rather than skim or toss rating.

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