Swedish Crafts and Craft Education

Harry Arvidsson
1989, Vol. 21, No. 3,

Abstract


The word s/ojd in Swedish has several meanings, which makes it difficult to translate into other languages. It can be traced back to an Icelandic word meaning shrewd or cunning. Otto Salomon traced it back to the old Swedish 'sla', meaning deft, handy and cunning. Slojd has an English 'descendent' in the word sleight of hand. In the school context, NAAS SLOJD is a familiar concept all over the world, as a result of Otto Salomon's handicraft teaching methodology for schools.

Another very familiar concept is SVENSK HEMSLOJD, meaning production for and sale of both decorative art products and everyday articles made of many different materials and for the wide variety of techniques. The distinctive characteristic of hemslojd and its practitioners is that this production is aimed at preserving old manual techniques, traditional forms, traditional patterns and locally typical features. The products are made as utensils for everyday use in the home, they are of native natural materials and they tie in with local traditions. Crafts in Sweden are classifed as 'hard' and 'soft'. The hard variety includes, for example, woodwork, root work, birch-bark handicraft and wrought iron. The soft variety includes weaving, embroidery, lace-making and knitting, for example.


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