Among the leading teachers of the manual arts in the schools there is a growing interest in art metalwork. This is due in part to a recognition of the increasing importance of metal as a material of construction in the arts and industries, in part- to the fact that by adding it to woodwork, which is the more common form of handwork in the schools, experience in tool processes becomes broadened and enriched, but chiefly it is due to the fact that art metalwork adds to handwork instruction a valuable means of art expression. The opinion is now general that manual training should lead out beyond the mere mechanical and utilitarian into the realm of graceful, free expression of beauty of form and color and design. Because metal is so free from troublesome grain, because it is so ductile and easily shaped under certain conditions and so rigid under others, because it is so capable of pleasing effects of color and finish, and because of its relation to the natural sciences, it seems preeminently fitted to become one of the most popular of the materials of art expression in the schools, while at the same time serving as a medium for training in manual dexterity.
In order to make art metalwork available and profitable in the schools it was necessary that it go thru the same process of pedagogical analysis as the other manual arts subjects have gone thru during the past thirty years. It was necessary that the fundamentals of the art be selected and organized into a course of instruction; that this be done with reference to the cost of equipment, the expense of materials to maintain instruction and the limitations of instruction in large classes; and that all this be done in the light of the best modern pedagogical methods. To accomplish this required practical familiarity with the craft, training in pedagogy, experience as a teacher, and power of accurate description. It is believed that all of these requirements have been met in a very happy combination and proportion in this book. The fact that the instruction here outlined has already been successful in awakening in hundreds of high school boys a lasting interest in artistic handicraft and completely changed their attitude toward their own power to design and produce works of real merit which gave them pleasure is substantial proof of the educational value of such a course of instruction.
Charles A. Bennett.