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Published: 02 October 2021

By Andy Ross

Crafts of yesteryear

A recent discovery at home of a small USB stick revealed a surprise: a series of the publication "Art and Craft Education".

Although it is undated (at least as far as I can see), the files on the USB stick include photographs of people and those are always helpful in identifying when the pictures were taken. From the clothes that these children are wearing (picture left) it looks like the 1930s and this date is borne out by internet research that reveals the magazine was in publication from at least 1937. According to the first ever page of the new magazine (photograph right), it was intended to "assist all teachers in the selection of appropriate art and craft activities; ...suggest new points of view to the specialist; and to ensure successful results... by presenting well planned ocourses of instruction based upon first hand experiences of the contributors." Laudable aims indeed!

The same page also lists the contents of this edition of the papers. "Design by stitchery" for Juniors, and "Weaving on simple looms" (this calls for Shetland wool to be used in the project), while Seniors could make "Hand printed fabrics" and do "Lettering and poster work". Sounds like lots of fun, doesn't it?

These are very interesting and useful publications, and provide a glimpse into the state of education in art and craft nearly a century ago. It has been fascinating to find them and explore their contents.