Many of Canada’s Cultural landmarks are rooted in time and stories of those families and communities from centuries ago help serve as a reminder that with skills and knowledge there comes a responsibility. During the 1800’s it was clear that they understood knowledge as not a secret, but something that has to be shared. The replication of art through craft was evident in more than just buildings too. It was a way of thinking and a philosophy within a family where learning a set of skills was an honour and a tradition. Guilds were created and a passage was set for a young craftsman or woman who learned by listening and doing. In 2003, Architect - Julian Smith, shared a similar vision. He understood that, like those who innovated before him, the best way to learn is through practice. Julian and other forward thinkers wanted a place of learning unlike any college campus in Canada. Willowbank School of Restoration Arts was started for the right reasons too. By saving an important Cultural landmark from development they could, in turn, pass on knowledge while restoring the beautiful estate resting on 12.5 acres within a landscape steeped in History. This unique approach to post-secondary education gives the third-year grads a deep appreciation of building conservation and how they eventually will weave their lives within it.
On this episode I had the opportunity to speak to Cailin Wooll who has a job title as Education Coordinator, but as you soon will hear, she is much more than that. I will let Caitlin describe this role and the amazing treasure that we are lucky to have. Sadly, this is the only school like it in Canada. So with that Art of Craft listeners, I give you my conversation with Caitlin Wooll.