Unplugged Craftivism: A Story of Humans and Environmental Education


  • Zabe MacEachren Queen's University




craft making, environmental education, brain development, handwork, folk schools, Waldorf Education


This is a written account of a keynote presentation given at the Council of Outdoor Educators of Ontario, annual conference in Canada. The conference themes included revival of the hand-made and Folk Schools. This article outlines the dramatic effects and hand-made props used to present an “unplugged” presentation that was simultaneously humourous and educational. The presentation began by drawing upon research from the field of anthropology that links the historical development of the brain with early flint-knapping skills. Following the introduction a rationale for understanding the importance of fibre and edge technology was conveyed. An exploration of hand skills was further explored by examining some materials and the design aspects involved in making clothing. The later part of the article describes the child developmental ideas that correspond with Waldorf Handwork programs and outlines the origin of two of North America’s largest Folk Schools. Short narrations occur throughout the paper and are used to emphasize the way making things with our hands link human’s environmental survival to human development and education. The paper concludes with three short stories that emphasize the importance of using our hands in conjunction with our minds to make the stuff of life we need to live.

Author Biography

Zabe MacEachren, Queen's University

Dr. Zabe MacEachren coordinates the Outdoor and Experiential Education program at Queen’s University. Her main research areas combine the importance of hand skills, craft making, and environmental education. Many of her students learn to knit as part of their course work.


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How to Cite

MacEachren, Z. (2019). Unplugged Craftivism: A Story of Humans and Environmental Education. Art/Research/International:/A/Transdisciplinary/Journal, 4(1), 381–405. https://doi.org/10.18432/ari29401