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Our Craftsmanship

The establishment of our workshops at Homestead Heritage represents the results of many years’ labor to revive traditional homesteading crafts and skills.

It wasn’t so very long ago that parents taught homesteading skills and crafts to their children. The father, whose craft made provision for his family, imparted his abilities to his children, and so the craft was handed down from father to son and generation to generation. Likewise, master craftsmen trained apprentices in every aspect of fine workmanship. This extension of their craftsmanship would, then, benefit the entire community by passing on the skills indispensable to family and community living.

Brazos de Dios provides a context whereby adults and children can learn, in a real and tangible way, the same essential skills once taught in those previous generations. As a working community, all the methods and skills we teach have been tested and proven through many years of experience.

Our craftsmen not only earn their living working at their skills but also devote time to impart these practical skills to others. As part of our "living curriculum," we offer a wide range of craft workshops for our community’s children (as well as visitors). Through these workshops, each child learns the basics of the craftwork step by step, guided by his teacher. Then, as the child masters the skills needed for his particular craft beyond a workshop level, the teachers continue as advisors to help the children, urging them on toward excellence as they work at home. In pursuing those crafts they enjoy, they can then in their late teen years and early twenties enter into apprenticeships where their skills can become finely honed.

Through all of this, we seek excellence in more than the development of skills, for our primary concern lies in the development of Christian character. With each project, our children are encouraged as they encounter new levels of craftsmanship, which builds patience, endurance, integrity, attentiveness, eagerness and perseverance.

Our craft workshops at Homestead Heritage provide the ideal environment for training our young adults through a more formal apprenticeship program that offers the opportunity to learn their craft under the guidance of our master craftsmen. Through establishing the various handcrafts within our community as well as teaching our younger people through the years, our craftsmen have become able teachers in imparting the skills of craftsmanship through apprenticeship. In the context of full−time employment in the workshops, the apprentices, under the watchful eye of our craftsmen, reach for new and higher levels, to become accomplished craftsmen themselves.

As an active farming community, Brazos de Dios presents many opportunities for the advancement of craftsmanship skills for all ages. Under the direction of our master builders, our older boys gain experience in construction as they help build various community buildings and workshops. Our community craftsmen designed craft workshops to house each particular craft. In the process of helping build our workshops, the older boys have not only increased their construction skills but have also learned many other supportive skills as well—stone masonry, foundation building, truss construction, roofing and shingle cutting, stucco coating as well as other practical skills such as electrical work, plumbing and landscaping. Each new project challenges, strengthens and shapes the character and skill level of our younger craftsmen.

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The path of the rightous is as the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Prov. 4:18 NIV

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