Folksy Ltd

#FolksyHour - Craft in Education

Every Tuesday between 8-9pm, we host #FolksyHour on Twitter. Last week’s theme was creativity. We were fascinated by your experiences of craft in education so we continued talking about that in tonight’s #FolksyHour. Catch up on the action here:

If you’re interested in carrying on the discussion we’ve started this thread for all your thoughts.

If you are responding to a particular question, please quote it by using your cursor to highlight the question text in this post and click "quote reply"

Here are the questions we posed:

  • Did you feel craft and creativity were valued when you were at school? How do you think that’s changed?
  • What was your favourite arts project at school? (Do you still have it?!)
  • Did you have an arts teacher at school who particularly inspired you?
  • Do any of you have experiences with your own children going through the education system now?
  • In its #FutureinMaking manifesto the Crafts Council recommends schools connect with local makers to promote the value of craft. Do you think that would be a good idea? How many of you would want to get involved in schemes like that?
  • The Crafts Council also wants the government to ensure arts subjects have equal weighting with other subjects [It says new codes mean from several arts subjects at Key Stage 4, such as graphic design & ceramics, only 1 can count towards a school’s performance in league tables]. Surely that makes sense?

If you want to know more about the #FutureinMaking manifesto and get involved, here’s the link

Hello everyone
I’m not replying to one question in general but as a whole.
When I was at school art wasn’t taken seriously at all.
I remember one.year in high school they has us made paper chains at Christmas love making them but not as a lesson.
Most of our art teachers were taken the micky out of and not.taken serious. I remember another teacher told me I should take a gcse as i found other lessons really difficult being dyslexia.
And because of this i took the other corse.

It’s funny because now my nephew comes home with all his little art projects’s.lovely.
They are encouraged so much to be creative. he came home the other day with an award bear for be good in his art lesson.
It’s a little teddy that has a name and reason for being.brought home. Then you have to take it back the next day so.someone else gets ago.
It really is lovely.


Hubby when at school did woodwork, metalwork,pottery, art and pictorial craft as subjects. He did metal work and pottery at A level, was taught by metalwork and wood work by skilled teachers the art and craft teacher was himself an exhibiting artist whilst the pottery teacher was an internationally renownd potter. You can’t help being inspired and as such they gave him a love of art craft and design which has translated into several businesses through his life. He doesn’t consider himself a crafter but a professional artisan producing high quality handmade products in wood, leather and steel in an International market place. His son whilst at school sadly saw the disussed machines in the workshops but was not allowed to use them he did craft design and technology which mostly involved bending bits of plastic without the use of machines due to H&S. Nige often says that this world will be a much poorer place without quality art and craft it not only gives children what could be the start of a life long hobby or business opportunity but also develops greater creative thinking which seems to be lacking in many people today. It would be good to bring back more creative skills in education across all ages.


I’m afraid for me it was the opposite. I did applied art GCSE and my art teacher hated it, something about the idea of art to a design brief irked her - I think because she really wanted to be supporting herself through her art and not through teaching. Half way through my final exam she told me that she hated my work and that I should start again - I ignored her and went on to get the only A* for art in my year (for both the applied art and standard art GCSEs) but the whole process left a few mental scars and for years I didn’t do any art or craft. I am now pleased to say that a few of the pots I made have come out of storage and now live on the shelf over my work bench and some of my batiks are waiting for me to repair holes and then go to the framers.
It was a different story when I was learning silversmithing at evening classes, the teacher was enthusiastic and supportive and I still regularly wear the first piece (and many others since) with great pride.

1 Like

I remember crafting of some sort all the way through school. I remember the very first thing I made with needle and thread it was a pencil case in cross stitch on large green aida with a large sewing needle something a 6year old would not be allowed to use in school now. Then I made a little rag doll. Then a doll made from a sock.

At nine I learnt via the lunch time club Bedfordshire Bobbin Lace.

At 12 I was learning the rules of laying out a pattern and learning about cutting on the bias. I used my first sewing machine in that class and created my very first blouse and tennis skirt.

I also learnt how to prepare and enamel copper, learnt to make a tongue and groove joint in woodwork and chisel a bowl out of a block of wood. Learnt to throw a pot on a potters wheel.

We had to do arts and crafts whether we liked it/wanted to or not. It was just part of the overall curriculum same as Maths, English, Science, Geography, History, French, Cookery and Music.

Even in Upper school for the first year before we started our O levels we had to take an arts and craft class.

So yes it was seen as being very important. Only one I hated was when we had to do painting and drawing it was not for me. I didn’t like the pottery teacher he scared the life out of us all.


My experience of art at school was practically non-existent. We had weekly art lessons but, unless you were considered good at drawing by the rather uninspiring art teacher we had, he really wasn’t interested and I don’t remember actually being taught anything about art at all. There was no such thing as ‘crafts’ or ‘design’ or any other type of artistic discipline - it was just drawing and painting. Generally the only pupils who took art as an exam subject were those who weren’t good at academic subjects or who showed real artistic talent (i.e. good at drawing/painting).
I was good at academic subjects so it was assumed I couldn’t be artistic - there was a clear dividing line back then between art and academic subjects. You couldn’t be good at both, or interested in both, that just wasn’t an option.
I learnt about art and crafts from my mother - she was interested and passed that on to me. She taught me the basics and encouraged me to try different crafts. I’m really grateful that she did.

I do remember at junior school, there was a teacher who taught embroidery and I loved that. I made several embroidered items that I still have 50 years on, including my little needlecase and an embroidered box. Sadly, those lessons only lasted for a year before I moved on to secondary school.


Arts and crafts were a bit of a joke at my school. We had weekly “Art” lessons which involved painting with children’s paint blocks or very occasionally a bit of pottery, but you could only use the wheel if you were a favoured student, otherwise you just had to create a blob! We also had weekly needlework lessons where I was told I talked to much to ever amount to much. Like Christine @ciesse students were divided into Arts and Science types and as I excelled at science it was assumed arts were not my thing and I was encouraged to drop it.
After leaving school I met someone in the forces which required attending various balls and posh dinners and being short on cash was forced into making my own ball gowns and cocktail dresses, I also took up knitting when my niece was born and made her lots of things. Since my own children were born I have been forced to make various fancy dress outfits.
It was only a few years ago that I started seriously crafting and found I enjoyed it. I tried all sorts of crafting and eventually discovered felting and am now seriously addicted! All those years wasted! My sister, like me, achieved little more than “stick men” at school but took up painting a few years ago and now produces some amazing art.

Art at my own children’s school was a very different matter. Having been encouraged at an early age at primary school to experience all sorts of different media (yes I have a loft full of various projects, models and pictures) at secondary school they were actually “taught” art. Instead of being given a pot of paint and told to paint a picture they were taught about textures, shades, tone etc and I was always amazed by the work they bought home. My eldest was amazingly talented and actually sold some of her pencil drawings and pet portraits to fund a trip overseas. Despite being a “scientific academic” she was encourage to do art and achieved an A* in her GCSE and would have gone on to A level had she not wanted to go down the science route. The youngest, whilst not particularly artistic, still achieved some great results and isn’t frightened of having a go.

When I was at both primary and high school we seemed to do a lot more art & crafts, for example at primary we did sewing, knitting and lots of different art (we worked with paints, inks did marbling, screen printing and even lino cutting/printing!) at high school there was clay work, batique (excuse spelling) and sewing garments as well as homewares By contrast my children did very little, my son (year 9) does all his ‘creative’ subjects on a rota (i.e a couple of months of cookery and art followed by a couple of months of textiles and music then drama and design technology etc.) to me this isn’t nearly enough as it results in only about 12-15 hours per subject over the whole school year, in my opinion cookery and basic textiles in particular should be taught as ‘life skills’ (it might help with the obesity ‘crisis’ that experts seem to be constantly going on about)

When I was at school… Grammar School … yes art was taken seriously.
My eldest (10years older) sister did Art and left to finish her A levels at Art College.
I did music - O level and A level. But… I also did English Maths French History Science and had a good all round education across the range of subjects that a grammar school taught in the 60s.
We also had Art lessons right through until we selected our subjects for O level. The Art lesson was just as important, taken as seriously as the other subjects but we would have only had one session a week - same as music at that stage. So, if I had wanted to do art instead of music then I could have.
The basic choice of subjects at O level was
Maths, both English,.a Science, History or Geography, A Language. That left 2 more, as we took 8, so I fitted in Music easily and Latin (ha ha but I just passed - told we needed it for university) .

I can add up, spell (any errors here are my fingers not my head), speak French. draw a diagram of a trembler bell, etc and I can also sing when I’m making my glass - and I do - but not in Latin.
:slight_smile: :slight_smile:


Ha ha - latin, yes I did that too although after 3 months of sickness in my O’level year I needed private lessons to catch up in all my subjects. As Latin was taught by the headmistress I opted to give it up rather than suffer private time with her!

I did pass Latin O’level but only to spite my Latin teacher who said I wouldn’t


I think !!!

1 Like