Dispatches from Miguel: “How to Live”

September 29, 2018



Lantern making at NBSIS

With the departure of President Miguel Gómez-Ibáñez CF ’99 at the end of this year, we couldn’t think of a better time to reflect on his legacy. In this six-part series based on Miguel’s writing over 12 years, we highlight his insights on hand skills, the future of education, living a good life, and more.

Part Five: “How to Live”

From the beginning, North Bennet Street School was a pioneer in advocating the value of hand skills to society. The manual arts training movement known in Sweden as Educational Sloyd (slöjd means craft or manual skill) was brought to this country in large part through the efforts of the School’s founder, Pauline Agassiz Shaw. Sloyd’s focus on the overall education of the child, rather than the preparation of individuals for the industrial labor force, fit well with Mrs. Shaw’s philosophy. She described the School’s mission as training the whole person; not teaching “how to make a living, but how to live.”

In these essays, Miguel offers lessons for today’s craftspeople gleaned from a close study of the history of NBSS and of craft in America.

Read Part Four: The Creative Process | Part Six: The Future of Craft Education