I was delighted to read today about the Manifesto written by The Crafts Council to encourage UK schools to bring back making and crafts to the school curriculum. The subjects have steadily been on the decline since 2007 and the Manifesto to bring the subjects back, is being backed by, amongst others, Sir Terence Conran, Grayson Perry and Kevin McCloud.
Considering we are world renowned as a nation of crafters and makers since the Arts & Crafts Movement, started by William Morris and John Ruskin, it is surprising that these subjects are no longer encouraged. The Arts and Crafts movement, as we know, grew out of concern for the industrialisation of design and it seems that we appear to be on the cusp of a similar problem, with the effect of design technology threatening to take over a hands on approach? Morris and Ruskin put a great value on the joy of making and the natural beauty of honest materials and I remember myself as a child, with my first efforts of cross stitch at school and being taught to crochet by a neighbour, the immense feeling of pride and achievement you have as a child when you have made something yourself, can not be matched.
As well as spawning some of the giants of the arts and craft world, such as sculptors Dame Barbara Hepworth and Sir Henry Moore, we continue to produce amazing artists and makers, Thomas Heatherwick, Anthony Gormley and Edmund De Waal are just a few.
Henry Moore’s work can be viewed in the beautiful surroundings of Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Sculptures by Dame Barbara Hepworth in her former gardens St Ives Cornwall.
If you visit The Tate St Ives you can buy a dual ticket which gives access to Hepworths studio and gardens, truly breathtaking.
Some of the work by British Ceramicist Edmund De Waal
British hand made furniture continues in its demand with design team Pinch, winning awards for their hand crafted pieces and Ercol have risen from the ashes to reinvent some of their iconic designs in new ways for a younger audience.
Lowry cabinet by Pinch
I was really impressed to read that Ercol are one of the sponsors of the young furniture makers competition which as well as entries from University students, have a category for school children.
If you want to read the Manifesto in full, you can do so here and I sincerely hope that their bid to bring back crafts into schools is successful. As a mother of two children, I think we should encourage the next generation to keep up these important skills. Whether they decide to study it as part of their education and make a career out of it or just if it teaches them the virtue of patience, it is an important asset for everyone to have.