I was introduced to crafts by my third grade teacher, Miss Marks. A sign of the times, I went all the way through school and never had a woman teacher that was married. They were all spinster ladies who seemingly dedicated every waking moment to their students, Miss Marks was typical. A bit past middle age, dark hair cut into a bob, with the faint shadow of hair on her upper lip as so often happens to post menapausal women. Her well corseted body was always covered by a black dress, of which she seemed to have an endless supply, and, of course, sensible shoes.
Miss Marks had a project for every phase of our learning. When we studied the American Indian, she brought in frame looms as well as raffia and reed for baskets. One had their choice of weaving or basket making. Which ever we chose Miss Marks was prepared to teach us how. I ended doing both and have retained that knowledge to this day.
For Father's Day Miss Marks brought in pieces of wood about 1/4 inch thick, dowels, nails and glue. She also brought in the necessary tools, coping saws, hammers and sandpaper. Miss Marks told us we were going to make a hat stand for our father. Another sign of the times. In those days no man left his home without wearing a hat. We all went outside and sat on the paved walk that ran in front of the classroom. We cut and hammered and spent a part of several days working on our hat stand. The one thing Miss Marks did not provide was paint. She had been a teacher for many years and was too wise to turn a bunch of third graders loose with a can of paint.
My parents were divorced so I gave my hat stand to my grandfather. Years later I had occassion to go in his closet, and there was my hat stand on the shelf holding one of his business hats. Still being used after thirty years.
Miss Marks was evidently a feminist as there was no distinction made between what was a girl's project or a boy's. Everyone participated in project after project, each related to whatever we were studying at the time.
Sometimes one has a teacher they will never forget. Miss Marks was mine. She taught us all the subjects as set out by the school district and made it fun. She also taught us skills we would not have otherwise had, but more than that, she taught us to do our best.