Ruth Faison Shaw

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Ruth Faison Shaw
Born October 15, 1889
Born in Kenansville, North Carolina
Died December 8, 1969
Education Shaw graduated from a Presbyterian girls school, the James Sprunt Institute, in 1906
Known for Shaw is credited with developing the art of finger painting and later introducing it into the American education system. Shaw came to be seen as a pioneer in progressive education.
Notable work She published a book in 1934, titled Finger Painting: A Perfect Medium for Self-Expression.

Ruth Faison Shaw (1889–1969) was an American artist, educator who is credited with introducing finger painting into the USA as an art education medium. She developed her techniques while working in Rome, Italy, patenting a safe non-toxic paint in 1931.

Early life[edit]

Shaw was born in Kenansville, North Carolina, on October 15, 1889.[1] She graduated from a Presbyterian girls school, the James Sprunt Institute, in 1906, after which time she gained some experience as (an untrained) school teacher in the Appalachian Mountains.[2]

In 1918 Shaw travelled to Italy with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), before setting up a school in Rome.[3]

Finger painting[edit]

Shaw is credited with developing the art of finger painting and later introducing it into the American education system.[3] She later claimed she had been inspired when she saw a child smearing iodine onto a wall, realising children liked to 'smear'.[4] This event took place in 1926, when Shaw had already founded an experimental school, the Shaw School, for English-speaking children.[2] Shaw developed the techniques and materials required for finger painting. In 1931 she patented a gelatinous paint medium that would be safe for children.[2]

Shaw returned to the USA in 1932.[3] She took a job in the progressive Dalton School in New York City, where she introduced finger painting to the curriculum. An exhibition of finger painting art took place in Manhattan in 1933.[4] She published a book in 1934, titled Finger Painting: A Perfect Medium for Self-Expression.[5]

Later career[edit]

Shaw came to be seen as a pioneer in progressive education. She was invited to lecture about finger painting and organize exhibitions.[2] She started a factory in New York to produce her paint.[4] Finger painting workshops were started for adults. In 1942 she became a lecturer at Teachers College, Columbia University.[2]

Shaw died in Fayetteville, North Carolina in 1969.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ruth Faison Shaw". FInd a Grave. Retrieved 7 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Marable, Darwin (October 2006). "Ruth Faison Shaw: First Lady of Finger Painting". WorldandI.com. Retrieved 2012-04-19. 
  3. ^ a b c "Finger Painting: Ruth Faison Shaw, an expert, shows how it should be done". Life magazine. July 28, 1941. pp. 39–42. 
  4. ^ a b c Mayesky, Mary (2012), Creative Activities for Young Children, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, p. 308, ISBN 978-1-111-29809-8 
  5. ^ Shaw, Ruth Faison (1934). Finger Painting: A Perfect Medium for Self Expression. Boston: Boston, Little, Brown, and Company.