Handmade outcomes : an examination of the long-term effects of EC-12 art instruction through the lens of craft entrepreneurs' narratives
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This study was undertaken to answer the question, “In a cross-section of the featured creative entrepreneurs from Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, what kind, if any, of art education did these full time, handmade-craft business owners receive in EC-12 schooling and how has it affected their adult lives as successful craft business owners? In what ways, if at all, does it appear their formal art education led to their successful creative ventures in their adult years?” In order to answer this question, a survey was conducted of a cross-section of the participants featured in the book (Levine & Heimerl, 2008) and film (Levine, 2009) Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design about their art educational backgrounds, including what amount of art instruction they received in EC-12 schooling, as well as in informal or community settings. Based on the survey results, four representative participants were interviewed. Their responses were then constructed into narratives so as to portray holistic portraits of their individual paths through art instruction to entrepreneurship. In doing this it was revealed that while EC-12 can be attributed with furthering the participants’ interest in art, and giving them a grounding in many technical skills still used in their daily lives, in most cases, formal art education alone has not seemed to provide enough training on its own to promote the participants’ future successes as creative business owners. It is only through the blending of the sum total of their formal, familial, and informal art education that successful outcomes have been found.