Why Work to Preserve Traditional Skills?

Why work to preserve traditional skills and crafts? Part of any folk school’s existence is tied to preserving and promoting traditional skills. Why not teach classes on database management or how to invest profitably in bitcoin technology or other more intellectual activities?


Photo Credit: MMFS
 

Here’s some writer’s and blogger’s thoughts on why preserving traditional skills is important: 

  • Sustainability – methods used in mass production create negative byproducts such as pollution and waste
  • Possessions used to resonate with us because of the memories tied to the producing of the item, reminding us where we came from. Mass produced items don’t do this, or do it in a different way
  • Focusing on traditional skills is a way to instill the value of hard work in children and youth, to help them understand that it takes an investment of time and effort to gain skill
  • Any learning process has a spiritual and creative component which can be lost with industrial processes. Work is more than just a way to make a living
  • Traditional skills are an invisible thread to our ancestors and understanding how things are made helps us better understand why we are who we are
  • Inherent cultural heritage – crafts help define and communicate the beliefs and skills of a group of people, and how they interact with their environment

Photo Credit: MMFS

We believe traditional skills and crafts are ultimately about connection. Connections between the crafter and nature and place. Connection from the present to the past. Connection between the instructor to the novice, and between fellow learners. Perhaps most importantly, learning a traditional skill and working to develop that skill helps you to connect to yourself. Using your hands to experiment, to create, and to work through frustration results in a better understanding of self, and a feeling of satisfaction and achievement that is incredibly enriching. Those of us at Marine Mills Folk School want to help foster these connections. We believe strangers coming together to share traditional skills and crafts will expand their community and help break down communication barriers that can exist between people of different ages and backgrounds. Preserving traditional skills and crafts enriches all our lives.
 


Photo Credit: MMFS