Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pimp Cups and Soulcraft

My Advanced Material Culture class took an interesting turn this week: we made pimp cups. (For those of you unfamiliar with these artifacts, look here, here and here.) The genesis of this project was my request for someone to share a craft with the rest of the class. I'd made this request at the beginning of the semester, but no one stepped up at the time. They claimed not to know how to make anything, or nothing very interesting. Thanks to Fiona, we all know how to make pimp cups now. She supplied the blanks, bling and glue, and I chipped in to help pay the bill. My observations:

  • I have not seen a class so quiet since the last time I gave a final exam. They were totally absorbed for about 30 minutes. Even the ones who are usually checking their phones or "taking notes" on their laptops.
  • They got the connections between this activity and our first text "Shop Class as Soulcraft". Yes, craft engages the mind, Yes, it's problem-solving. Yes, materials impose discipline. (Be careful with the epoxy, or you make a mess or even glue your fingers together.)

Today, I am going to show them how to crochet a granny square, and we'll talk about crafting as part of childhood. I have some toy catalogs to share that might help jog their memories. The first day of class, one of my students made an off-hand comment about crafts are "kid stuff", and it keeps calling me back. Nearly all of the crafts I do today I learned as child, yet I don't see them as childish. The processes we learn as children have the potential to grow and mature as we do.

1 comment:

Seis Manos said...

Sigh....I'd love to teach your classes. I teach college-level American lit, and am always disappointed when I invited crafted responses to my assignments, and instead I get PowerPoint presentations....