Sunday, June 20, 2010

Shoulders of Giants

scarf #2 in progress...
The other day I was talking to another weaver and described myself as primarily self-taught. And caught myself up short because - although that is true in a way - it's not the complete truth.
I was extremely fortunate in that I was able to enroll in a two semester class on weaving. I had an instructor and the benefit of a fully equipped studio with all the bells and whistles including an extensive library. My instructor passed along some excellent basic skills, but mostly she instilled in me the confidence to think and follow through to reasonably successful projects. Not everyone has that gift.
I also took workshops, seminars and classes from some extremely talented weavers. To name just a few - Irene Waller, Peter Collingwood, Steven Simpson and Morfydd Roberts from Great Britain, Mary Andrews (Banff Centre of Fine Arts), Diane Mortenson, Lilli Bohlin, Linda Heinrich, Judith Mackenzie McCuin, Mary Frame, Jane Evans, Madelyn van der Hoogt, Jack Lenor Larson, Mary Bentley, Dini Moes, and many more too numerous to mention. I was also helped on a personal level by people like Allen Fannin and Tom Beaudet.
And I cannot forget to mention all the people who belonged to the chat groups on the internet and people I met at conferences.
So while I do consider myself largely self-taught - all those mistakes made over the years that taught me valuable lessons plus all the reading I've done, books and magazines -I do have to give credit to the weaving community at large which has been incredibly generous and supportive on so many levels. Even those people who did not approve of my equipment choices taught me an important lesson - that of keeping my focus and understanding that someone else's standards and choices may be 100% appropriate for them while not being at all appropriate for me.
The biggest lesson I have learned is how much more there is to learn. And after 35 or so years of weaving as a career I still find that prospect of more to learn exciting!
Judith Mackenzie McCuin talks about how we all stand on the shoulders of giants - all those knowledgable talented people who have gone before us and shared their knowledge.
To them, and to my contemporaries who are fellow travellers on the road of knowledge, thank you.
Currently reading For a Few Demons More by Kim Harrison


Valerie said...

Lovely post, Laura. It's true for so many of us...even hobby weavers like me. So often as I sit at the loom, I marvel at the privilege of the many wonderful workshop teachers available to me over the years.

Loved the previous post too.

Thanks for your generous spirit.

PattyAnne said...

As always, I truly appreciate how generously you have shared with me as I begin (it's never too late, right!?) to travel down my weaving path. It is a true JOY to have all this fascinating never-ending 'stuff' to learn!
Thanks (and I would venture to say that I speak for LOTS of other newbies) for your generosity and kindness.