Sunday, July 22, 2012

arts and crafts...

According to Eileen Boris in Art and Labor, Temple University Press, 1986, the term "Arts and Crafts" was coined by T.J. Cobden-Sanderson a British lawyer turned book binder who had been a friend of William Morris. Cobden-Sanderson viewed art as the "engine of social change," and in that would have been aligned in thought with Comenius, father of pedagogy who, in the 17th century believed that the craftsman and his work would arise at the same time. Cobden-Sanderson believed that the purpose of the arts and crafts movement was to "bring all the activities of the human spirit under the influence of one idea, the idea that life is creation, and should be creative in modes of art, and that this creation should extend to all the ideas of science and of social organization."

According to another follower of Ruskin and Morris, C.R. Ashbee, "The arts and crafts workshop provided the conditions under which men, and not merely objects, were made." And so what happens when we leave children out of touch from their own creative capacities? Do they then choose other means through which to express their poorly developed social selves?

John Grossbohlin sent this link to a local New York report on two school principles who had visited Finland and further confirms what I've been sharing in this blog. Their conclusion was that American schools keep pushing and pushing youngest students before they are ready for reading when they actually need to be allowed to develop at their more natural learning pace. The video is not well done, but makes the same point I've been making in the blog for years. As I've said here before, you can't push a rope, but you can get one irretrievably tangled. When at the University of Helsinki, I visited the university wood shop where primary school teachers were being trained to teach woodworking. If the US has become become a nation of nincompoops, you and I can guess why.

Make, fix and create...

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