Monthly Archives: June 2014

Enterprise and Rural Craft Skills – Progress Report, June 2014

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Talking cakes

Talking cakes

Week 1 was a general introduction to Enterprise themes , including working as a team and coming up with business ideas that meet local needs. Each group presented their business ideas to the others as a confidence building exercise. The ideas they came up with were interesting – and not what you would expect. They were a cake  and pastry retail business called ‘Cakers’, a PC Games supplier – called ‘Amazing Mods’a clothes retailer that traded in jazzed up recycled clothing called ‘Old to New’ and an online business specialising in cases for devices called ‘Gizmo Cases’ (hope I’m not giving too much away, kids!)

The Tower touches the Ceiling!

The Tower touches the Ceiling!

The team-building exercise was that old chestnut – building a tower out of newspapers. Two groups managed to reach the ceiling so I guess that’s full marks!

Week 2 was themed on ‘SteamPunk Accessories’. We began with Adam Smith’s ideas on the ‘Division of Labour’, discussing what he had to say about the manufacture of pins. We related his ideas to  the kind of tasks we would be doing. For bespoke items and one-off pieces generally, the students felt that mass production techniques weren’t that relevant. Satisfaction was about making something from start to finish. The steamPunk items were designed and made in a single three-hour session.

The  difficult items turned out to be the little wallets – sewing

A wallet in one session!

A wallet in one session!

leather is hard work . Nonetheless, this was  popular and the making tasks were accessible at all levels. The craft worker leading the session designs and makes clothes to order and also redesigns recycled clothing. This may not be perceived as a ‘rural craft’ but it is very much in keeping with a small local economy with fashion influences rooted in Glastonbury and Street’s distinctive past. Clothing and leather items is very much in the town’s blood and the Red Brick Building where the students are working was once home to a sheepskin processing and sheepskin clothing  factory.

Getting to grips with all those letters...

Getting to grips with all those letters…

Week 3 was led by an artist, Chris Anes, who works entirely with letters. The principal theme was ‘the power of words’  and students had to think about how words and signage gets the message across. This was a very accessible and thought-provoking session and useful for students who are not always comfortable with the written word.

 Week 4 and 5 were back to the Rural Crafts thememaking a Cob Bread Oven.

Putting the first layer of cob down on a brick base.

Putting the first layer of cob down on a brick base.

This was tough, dirty outside work, the challenge of which took some of our students by surprise. Tasks included sieving clay by hand to remove stones, mixing the cob (clay, straw, water and grit) as well as building the dome shaped oven. Everything, curiously, went to plan and the students worked hard and got very dirty. Only the final, smooth outer layer of clay didn’t do too well. We had sourced a very fine clay that needed no sieving. To keep it smooth we used a fine sand – and not enough of it!

 

 

All that effort and no pizza!

All that effort and no pizza!

The outer layer crazed quite badly. Luckily, this was only two centimetres thick out of  a total thickness of 20 centimetres so it hasn’t affected the integrity of the oven. We hope to be cooking in it very soon!

 

Assessment. There is no formal assessment of student progress, but each student is provided with a Record of Achievement folder that is updated weekly. The tasks they have completed are itemised and they are given a grade and a comment for motivation, managing behaviour, confidence and willingness to take risks, teamwork, enterprise and initiative and attention to quality of outcomes. The folder also includes a personalised photo record of their work and experiences. Next Blog: Felt-working, Green Furniture and Pottery.