I just read this article called “American craftsmanship threatened by mindless consumerism” by Richard O. Byrne. I thought you might like it.
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Why is it that Germany can sell vastly superior wood-working tools by the boatload in the United States? It’s their quality. The same is true of German autos and many other products that leave ol’ Jim Bob’s load of junk unsold in the back of his pick-up. If you want to close the trade deficit, make things people want to buy. And at the same time educate the consumer here and abroad as connoisseurs of the possibilities at hand.
Some new schools have accepted the challenge. In Charleston, the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) has taken on the challenge as have other schools such as the North Bennet Street School in Boston. ACBA is the first in the nation to offer four-year bachelor’s degrees in blacksmithing, timber framing, carpentry, plastering, stone work and masonry.
It’s new and has birthing pains. It stumbles on trembling legs and it has many young people who have placed their trust in ACBA’s hands. But saying all this, one cannot say it is not alive. As a nation we are its parents charged with bringing this child to adulthood. Nobody can claim children will raise themselves, or that the task of this parenthood will be painless.
It is our task to plant the seed of a vibrant visual future this country so badly needs and to say of the Industrial Revolution, we reserve these things to ourselves because they are basic to the life of our society. No machine can duplicate them.
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Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!
I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.
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