Nanna Schaaper / Leather designer
"Crafmanship is slowly dying"
Tell us about your childhood? Where did you grow up? I grew up in Den Helder, a city in North Holland. My parents got divorced when I was two, so the family consisted of me, my sister – who was five years older than me – and my mum. My dad lived in Callantsoog, a quiet little coastal town less than 10 miles away, and we visited him at weekends. Lovely places both. The house in Den Helder was right next to the water, and we had a forest and beach within walking distance. We moved to a village called Bergen when I was eleven. It was wonderful to grow up surrounded by nature. You couldn’t wish for much more as a kid.
What did you dream of becoming as a kid? I longed to work in the children’s ward of the local hospital. One of our neighbours worked there and I loved dropping by to see her going about her duties. I couldn’t imagine a nicer job than one that involved cuddling and caring for babies all day. Of course, I didn’t understand then that if you’re a baby in hospital, something must be wrong.
Was that why you studied Child Development? I’ve always been fascinated by child development, although I never really had a clear plan about what to do for a living. But I chose the course because it sounded fun and interesting. How we develop as children seems to me to be the most important thing we could ever hope to understand, and it’s knowledge that will never go to waste.
But life took a different course once you’d graduated. I graduated at the start of the economic crisis and jobs were scarce, so I haven’t had a chance to practice. It remains a keen interest, though, and I still read a lot on the subject, both about the science-based theories and about the more alternative ideas. Child Development is a fairly new discipline, and too much of the current thinking is compartmentalised. That’s why kids end up getting “diagnosed” and labelled, whereas an approach that relied as much on science as it did on alternative ideas would probably be a lot more useful. So many kids are on Ritalin when they’re probably just allergic to something in their diet.