Sunday, November 06, 2016

open house, open mind

I have had two days of being on the local artist studio tour and have been working on table designs between guests.

The idea of the table is that it seats 10, that it be easy to cozy up around during Thanksgiving dinners, that it be wheel chair accessible in old age, and that it be lovely. I may still work on the leg units to make them more graceful.

We have had a number of delightful guests over the last two days and have planned for more today.

I want to talk just a bit about models and their use, both in Sloyd and in the Clear Spring School wood shop. Educational Sloyd placed an emphasis on the development of skill, so models were arranged  in exacting sequence to help shape the student's growing abilities to shape conventional household items from wood. Instead of creativity being a point of emphasis, students were encouraged to work toward close adherence to the model's design and craftsmanship. Sanding was discouraged, and decoration, too, was to be avoided. You can see the effects of educational sloyd in modern day Swedish and Danish design, and see it reflected in the practical simplicity of Ikea,  the impeccable craftsmanship of James Krenov and and the turned forms of Rude Osolnik. The emphasis was on craftsmanship and form.

I also use models at the Clear Spring School, but as a launching point for student creativity. I keep old examples of previous projects as a way to suggest ideas about how things can be made, and also to suggest how they can be creatively modified to meet the student's own design goals.

Both of these approaches have value, with that value being more or less related to the goals that the teacher or school may have. Is the program objective to impart measurable skill and design sense, or is it to sustain student creativity, experimental attitude, artistic sense, and student interest?

For those thinking of building a program in schools or in after school learning, program goals are good things to reflect upon.

Make, fix, create, and hope that others develop a love for learning likewise.

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