People often sign up for a folk school class to learn a new skill and bring home a product or item they have made. Perhaps the most important result of taking a folk school class is the connections that are formed – connections between others who have come to learn, between you and the artist-instructor who is sharing their knowledge and skills, and between you and those in the past who also developed and used this skill.
This latter type of connection, the transfer of skills across generations, puts the skill you are learning in a larger context. You gain an appreciation of what it took to create housewares, or farm equipment, or clothing during older, pre-Industrial Revolution times. You may feel a connection to the knitter sitting in a sod house in the 1800’s, creating a blanket to keep her child warm, or to the Native American crafting a canoe paddle in order to harvest wild rice more than 100 years ago. That is not to imply the techniques used in a folk school class are the same approaches used during that past era, although they may be. But a folk school student gains a sense of history and empathy for earlier craftspeople, and a connection is formed. You become a part of that history, sharing the story of artisans who have come before you.
Not all who are learning a traditional skill will care about those who have used the skill in times past. But at Marine Mills Folk School we believe it is important to help preserve these traditional skills. We think learning hands-on skills helps us all become more creative, more resilient and become better problem solvers. We believe the connections made in a folk school class make the world a better place! Please join us. You will be glad you did.
Cover Photo Credit: Rudi Hargesheimer