Education by Doing

Upon returning from Europe, they began making plans. “We were ready to live somewhere different than the Bay Area,” says Drew.  Thanks to advice from friends involved in the back-to-the-land movement of the time, Drew and Louise bought a van and trailer and drove cross-country to begin homesteading in western North Carolina. Handcraft culture was still an important part of the fabric of life there, and land was cheap. Their crystallizing vision involved working with like-minded homesteaders to create a community combining farming and art. The idea of starting a school was nowhere on the radar.

Drew and Louise continued their education-by-doing in earnest on the homestead. Seeking the knowledge of those who had gone before, they quickly learned or taught themselves how to make brooms, wheelbarrows, plows, shaving horses, and hay rakes, which Drew began selling to augment their income. He wrote the classic Country Woodcraft (Rodale, 1978) to document all the traditional woodworking he had learned.

–Jim McConnell and Michael Updegraff, excerpt from “Essential Human Work: Reimagining a Legendary School on the Coast of Maine,” in The First Three Issues


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