Learning to code…or not.

There has been a recent trend in education that I think is worth note.  It’s the idea that every young person should learn to write computer code.

The reason for this idea is that young people shouldn’t just be consumers of the culture and media they consume, but that they should also be producers of it.  And the best way to produce that which they consume is to learn coding.

I have no objection to the idea that people should learn to produce what they consume.  My objection is that the way to do that is necessarily by learning to code.  Now if you want to learn code, I totally encourage you to do that.  But the assumption that things requiring programming are the only, or most important, things in life, is incorrect.

Do you eat? Then you should learn to cook.  Do you wear clothing? Then you should learn to sew.  Do you bathe? Then you should learn to make soap. Do you watch television? Then you should learn production and filming.  Do you read? Then you should learn good writing.  And so on.  Of course no one can do all these things perfectly, so you should really figure out your area of interest and work on that.  Anything you can do to produce what you consume makes you more aware of the collective effort it takes to give you your lifestyle.

Personally, I knit, crochet, and sew some of my own clothes.  I make some of my own jewelry.  I make some of my own cleaning and beauty supplies.  I make some of my own decor items.  I cook, bake, can, and ferment.  I’ve dabbled in gardening and foraging.  I can weave (a little) and spin (even less).  And  of course, I create visual art.  So, I’m fairly confident that I can, in fact, produce at least some of what I consume.  And all without writing a single line of code.


On Bob Ross and unexpected inspiration

Sometimes, during the daytime, I keep the TV or radio on while I take care of my son.  I happened to have the channel on OPB when Bob Ross’ show came on.  As an overly serious high school art student, I thought that Bob Ross represented everything I hated about “art”.  Watching it as a somewhat more mature adult (and entrepreneur) made me realize the following things:

1. Bob Ross was capable of producing a sellable work in a half hour, not including prep and clean up.  That meant that if he painted for 8 hours a day, that’s 16 sellable products.  Not bad!

2. I actually learned a lot about brushwork.  I have never actually studied painting and didn’t realize there was so much you could do with so few tools.

3. He loved what he did!

I’m happy to say I got off my high horse and could appreciate what this man did.  No, he did not change the landscape of the art world forever, but yes, he did make an impact and got to do what he loved for a living.  And that’s pretty good.

Mouse And Bear Homebrewed Crafts

ERIN DERR came to Portland, OR for one reason only: to go to art school at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Sadly, due to a comic turn of events there was a mishap with Erin’s student visa.

Erin now splits her time between Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR with her novelist husband, Jason Derr. Erin has been focusing on her DIY art school project but is now ready to launch herself as an artist focusing on beautifully made, functional everyday art. Erin seeks to explore the spirituality of art and the ways in which “women’s work” is a form of high art and cultural production.

If you want to hire Erin and order drapes, tablecloths, place mats, napkins, wall hangings or any other fabric related art please contact Erin at erin.hirdrutter@gmail.com