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Contribution to Book
"Soft stuff": Community, identity, and contemporary craft in education
The heart of art education: Holistic approaches to creativity, integrity, and transformation (2012)
  • Courtney Lee Weida, Adelphi University
Abstract

This chapter explores cognitive, sensory, and emotional dimensions of contemporary craft education. I have often overheard ceramics and craft teachers lament not only adolescent students’ inability to model clay, knit, and/or crochet – but also express concern for adult students who have scarcely ever worked with their hands in a direct engagement with tactile art media. Learners who encounter warm, soft, and time-honored materials of craft can engage not only with craft histories and hand-made sensibilities, but can also “get in touch with” a sense of their own development and the embodiment of internal transformations. This chapter juxtaposes historical voices of M. C. Richards and Seonaid Robertson concerning wholeness and holistic education with commentary on contemporary D.I.Y. cultures and digital communities renewing and revising craft. Within this chapter, I will also investigate uneasy connotations of culture, gender, and status surrounding craft materials, including characterizations of “soft” scholarship and “hobbyist” status in artists’ engagement with felt, fabric, fiber, clay, and other soft, sensory “stuff.” I will consider examples from my own work teaching children about craft and clay, projects of the International Fiber Collaborative, and online craft groups geared towards adolescents and young adults, as rich and varied learning examples exploring identity and community.

Keywords
  • art education,
  • holistic education,
  • craft
Publication Date
2012
Editor
Campbell, L. & Simmons, S.
Publisher
National Art Education Association
ISBN
978-1-890160-54-8
Citation Information
Courtney Lee Weida. ""Soft stuff": Community, identity, and contemporary craft in education" Reston, VAThe heart of art education: Holistic approaches to creativity, integrity, and transformation (2012)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/courtney_weida/1/