2 May 2006

So that last one got me thinking...

If crafts people are considered practicing of their craft. And teaching pedagogy is often referred to as practice, is teaching a craft? I think it shares many aspects of craft. Both are practical skills, not something mastered from a book.

I had considered Craft being analogous to Engineering but my thinking on that is changing. Engineering = practical application of Science and Craft= practical application of Art.

I was never happy with this model though, it seemed pretty clunky, and I have never been able to get behind any real difference between Scientific Enquiry or Artistic Enquiry, The differences of perception between the two are cultural/historical. I think this works better.

I think there is a real danger with ignoring the lessons that we can glean from Craft. A boldness to investigate how a thing is made, to get ones hands dirty, the patience to create, the ability to take pride in a job well done and to accept failure as a part of the process and not to give up because of it.

The Head v Heart dichotomy is historical and cultural (Knowledge v Feeling, Logic v Intuition). Aristotle inclines to see images as coming from one side of the opposition: people make them because of their wish for knowledge. Plato suspects them from coming from the other: people make them to indulge their desires - vain desires, from his point of view. (Julian Bell - What is Painting (1999)Thames and Hudson ISBN 0-500-28101-7).

My art and craft practice has always been almost a by-product of my search for knowledge, I would say that Plato's view holds the upper hand.

I like Tesla's attitude where he credits progress to the artists and rails against rigid teaching methods.

There is another feature which affords us still more satisfaction and enjoyment, and which is of still more universal interest, chiefly because of its bearing upon the welfare of mankind. Gentlemen, there is an influence which is getting strong and stronger day by day, which shows itself more and more in all departments of human activity, and influence most fruitful and beneficial —the influence of the artist. It was a happy day for the mass of humanity when the artist felt the desire of becoming a physician, an electrician, an engineer or mechanician or —a mathematician or a financier; for it was he who wrought all these wonders and grandeur we are witnessing. It was he who abolished that small, pedantic, narrow-grooved school teaching which made of an aspiring student a galley-slave, and he who allowed freedom in the choice of subject of study according to one's pleasure and inclination, and so facilitated development.
(Tesla 1897)

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