Is it a spoon?

I’m reading about design at the moment and hope to be contributing to discussions about design in schools. In conversations with Ged (old friend and colleague and art educator of significance) we noted that it is sometimes hard to define what students make in terms of art, craft or design. There seems to be a generic, fused together ‘art + craft + design’ thing that happens in art classrooms. Because we don’t tend to think much about whether it’s ‘art or craft or design’ it’s sometimes hard to track how design is delivered in the ‘art & design’ curriculum.

But that’s a debate for elsewhere. This is just about this latest spoon which is part of a set of ‘deconstructed’ spoons. The whole ‘spoon’ thing is in effect a simple formal exercise in playing with 3 simple elements a handle, a bowl and the joint that joins them. It’s not an intellectual puzzle but is worked out time and again just through touch, tools and wood.

But back to design, is it a spoon because of its form or function? I seem to be challenging the convention of function in this last carving (distressed, cracked, burnt, stained rubbed back and oiled) but in my mind there seems to be a bottom line that says it has to be able to function as a spoon even if it’s just ceremonial, otherwise it’s just an arbitrary bit of decoration or treated wood.

…and so distraction over, back to reading ‘Introduction to Design Education, Theory, Research and Practical Applications for Educators by Steven Faerm.‘