handwork: work done with the hands and not by machines
Merriam Webster Dictionary
Children rarely encounter how a product is brought into being. As technology advances, human involvement in the creation of products is being lost. Carrying a project from planning to completion offers a child the opportunity to experience the value of labor firsthand. Handworkers discover that handmade creations are filled with the love and presence of their maker. A handworker develops a healthy sense of the value of things and awakens a holistic view of humanity’s creative birthright.
Handwork cultivates patience. Handwork builds the will. Handwork develops focus. Handwork yields confidence. Handworkers learn to bring vision to fruition. Active hands are the hallmark of a productive person and a productive person is a contributor to community.
Perseverance and resolve are required to complete a project by hand. Through opportunities for progressive attainment, children as handworkers experience a sense of achievement, delighting in their works of beauty that fulfill a useful purpose. Attention to detail during the creation of a piece fine tunes the skills of observation and discrimination. The ability to ‘see’ things, to be able to discriminate and make choices, cultivates the confidence to safely negotiate the challenges of this complex world.
Learning a craft forges a living link between the teacher and the student. The chain of students and teachers stretches forward from time immemorial. Each generation keeps this flame alive and passes it on to the next. It is our turn…
Neurophysiologist Professor Matti Bergström states:
“The brain discovers what the fingers explore… If we don’t use our fingers, if in childhood we become “finger blind”, the rich network of nerves is impoverished – which represents a huge loss to the brain and thwarts the individual’s all round development. If we neglect to develop and train our children’s fingers and the creative form building capacity of the hand muscles, then we neglect to develop their understanding of the unity of things; we thwart their aesthetic and creative powers. Those who shaped our age old traditions always understood this.”