Oh this Good Friday, I thought, perhaps I should be thinking some " deep thoughts " about spiritual matters. However I found myself, for some reason, typing in a search for a women I first learned about, during the early days of my art education, at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. I am grateful my Intro Art Education Professor had the insight and forethought to introduce the work of educator/artist/pianist,/writer and philosopher Sylvia Ashton Warner. I never forgot her, and she has stayed with me throughout the years, in my consciousness, and perhaps even my sub-consciousness. I had read a required reading by her in the early 70s called Teacher.
Today upon further investigation, and reacquainting myself with her profound influence on education, I am now fully aware of the reasons she left me with such an impression. I can clearly see the great affect her book had on my philosophical perspective towards the education of children, and their creative development.
At the time I hadn't completely perceived how great an influence she would continue to have on me, how she would deepen my own values and convictions as an artist, and as a Youth Care Worker.
Comparing her to other early influential educators and artists, that have written exceptionally important books, I put her knowledge and insight in amongst like minded people such as, Victor Lowenfeld, who was considered the father of art education, and who wrote Creative and Mental Growth. Herbert Read's Education Through Art, John Dewey's, Art As Experience and Neil Postman's and Charles Weingartner's, Teaching Is A Subversive Activity; all these books and educators were essential to my understanding of art and education.
However none of these books, with the exception of Creative and Mental Growth, and Teacher stayed with me throughout my life quite like the book Teacher, that got in under my skin organically I think, without me really being completely aware. But I knew on a intuitive level, she had touched me deeply, though it had been so long ago that I had read her book. She was not only a remarkable woman, I consider her to be a great mentor, and ahead of her time, but I believe she had profound wisdom, and insight, that she still offers contemporary women artist's. She is very much as relevant in the art world today, if not more so now, than ever.
Sylvia Ashton Warner was an educational pioneer in so many ways. I am so happy I followed my gut and found out more about her today, and look forward to re-reading Teacher, along with her other books in the days ahead.
It is indeed a very blessed and Good Friday, and I have had some deep thoughts after all, in finding out more about Sylvia Ashton Warner, and for that I am grateful.