It feels like the business has been on hold for over a year now but I think the current situation in terms of the pandemic means that we can start looking forward and planning courses again. There is an absolute joy in teaching people these old-fashioned hand skills and helping them to realise the work and value that there is in many objects we take for granted.
We have always said here at The Old School that if somebody had to shear their own sheep, wash the wool, dry it, card it and pick out the sticks, grass and unmentionables that end up in sheep wool, spin it into individual strands, ply those strands together and then either knit or weave the wool into a jumper; if that jumper got a hole in it they would mend it many times rather than throw it away and start the whole process again. We have, perhaps lost touch with the true value and time that goes into the objects we use and take for granted everyday. However, attending a course and making an object of your own that you can take away certainly reconnects you with that sense of value in the objects we have around us.
There is a school of thought that promotes a model of education which places equal weight on education of The Hand, The Heart and The Head. One version of this thinking is known Sloyd (or Slojd) and it was promoted strongly by Otto Saloman, a Swedish educator who founded the Sloyd Teachers Seminary in Naas. Sloyd is still practiced across the Scandinavian countries. Within educational sloyd, students are not only taught academic subjects, they are also taught about emotions and how to manage their own and those of others, and hand craft skills such as basket weaving, woodwork and bookbinding. Perhaps if Sloyd was more prominent in the UK we would have a better understanding of the value we should place in things. However, in the meantime we hope to continue to offer courses here at The Old School.
If you are a craftsperson or artisan and think that you would like to teach small groups of interested adults about your craft then please do get in touch as we want to offer as wide a range of crafts as possible. At the moment we don’t have the facility to offer ceramics as we don’t have a kiln but we do have a beautiful building in a gorgeous setting and lots of space for people to work in.
If you are a crafter, maker or artisan and interested in delivering courses then just get in touch. If you have never run a course and are worried about how to go about it, we are very happy to help you develop a course.