As I set about weaving the place mat warp this morning the phrase "a deft hand" suddenly popped into my head.
I had been background thinking about teaching and communicating about the skills involved in weaving - or any craft, for that matter - and suddenly this phrase appeared in my thoughts.
Checking the definition, just to make sure it meant what I thought it meant, I saw an older meaning - gentle.
And that rang another little bell. Because to me, working in traditional crafts means not only know how to do it, but how much finesse is required to get the materials to perform to their best.
Recently someone asked me how I dealt with being treated as an 'expert' when you don't actually 'know it all'. To me, being an 'expert' doesn't mean that you 'know it all'. When it comes to textiles, it would be near impossible for one person to know everything there is to know about weaving. But I have studied certain aspects of weaving in depth. So when people ask me about something I haven't tried, or don't feel I know to the sort of level of expertise that would allow me to give a meaningful answer, I tell them I don't know, cite references if I know of any, and then tell them how I would approach finding out. In other words, sampling.
While I may be 'deft', I am not the end of the discussion by any means. But I do know enough to point people in the general direction I feel they may discover the answers they are looking for. So perhaps I'm 'deft' at dodging the term 'expert'?