Mason, like most Educators of her day, advocated the use of handicrafts in her schools. Also like most, she used a specific model of handicraft called Sloyd. Sloyd was not merely a type of handicraft, however, it was an entire philosophy of education. Originating in Finland, popularized in Sweden by Otto Salomon (and it is still part of the curriculum there), and exported from there to all over the western world.
Some educators and imitators eventually made the work strictly utilitarian, and then it disappeared from our schools altogether, but Salomon’s vision was far from utilitarian, and sloyd is still part of the curriculum in Sweden. He wanted students to create useful and beautiful items, from start to finish, for formative reasons, here listed:
- To instill a taste for, and a love of labour in general.
- To inspire respect for rough, honestm, bodily labour. (obviously, for more advanced work in areas such as woodworking).
- To develop independence and self reliance.
- To train in habits of order, exactness, cleanliness, and neatness.
- To train the eye and sense of form. To give a general dexterity of hand and to develop touch.
- To accustom to attention, industry, perseverance, and patience.
- To promote the development of the physical powers.
from The Theory of Educational Sloyd: The Only Authorised Ed. of the Lectures … By Otto Aron Salomon
Mason, of course, shared that vision. A few others in America do as well. Read More