ART AND CRAFT BOOKS
For many years at Neel Bagh — our school in Karnataka — my mother, Doreen, taught the children art and craft; my wife, Penny, learnt how to make pots on the wheel and taught clay work, and my father and I taught carpentry. When teachers came to Neel Bagh for a term or two to learn about our methods, it was not always possible to introduce them to the whole range of craft activities that were undertaken at the school. I began to put together notes and small projects related to a number of different aspects of art and craft that would help teachers practise many different skills. These projects were stored in a large folder, and added to from time to time.
On my frequent visits to schools during the 80s and 90s, I found that not much work was being done in art and craft. The reason for this was that teachers had never themselves been given any training in these disciplines. I felt that pupils in the elite schools were learning academic subjects but their experience of art and craft, in a nation rich in both, was almost non-existent. Cursory attention was being paid to art — mainly copying a picture from the blackboard; and craft was badly neglected — treated as a vocational subject to be taught only in vocational schools. It was time for me to produce a series of books, which would give both pupils and teachers ideas that they could develop in class. Art and Craft was initially produced by OUP Pakistan (1998), and subsequently in India (2002).