Friday, December 29, 2017

Who Do You Think You Are?

Someone famously said "An un-examined life is not worth living".  Well, I don't actually believe that, but I do believe that sometimes it is good to look at your life and think about what it is you want to do, you want to accomplish, maybe even how you would like to be remembered long after you are gone.

One of the exercises in a creative writing class was to write ones own obituary.  As a 20 something, I really hadn't a clue.  But it was a good exercise in that it forced me to think about how others might perceive me compared to how I perceived myself.

As the earth pivots in it's orbit around the sun and the northern hemisphere begins its steady march toward longer days and shorter nights, the feeling that life gone quiet will soon be returning, the winter solstice and beginning of the new calendar year is a good time for contemplation.

So.  Who do I think I am?

I think I know quite a lot about the creation of textiles.  I think I'm pretty good at explaining the nuances of the creation of textiles.  I think I am encouraging of people who want to know more about the creation of textiles.  I think that being a creative person makes me happier, healthier, than if I didn't have something creative to put my attention on, to focus on. 

I have doing this for a rather long time now.  I have been involved in internet interest groups since 1994.  I have watched as people struggled to learn the craft, quite often on their own, with nothing but books, then You Tube videos to point them in a direction.

I have tried to assist people with understanding why their efforts may not have turned out quite the way they expected, simply because they didn't know any better.  That they chose inappropriate materials.  Equipment.  Processes.

My intention in this has never been to put them down but to help them understand.

Most people have been very open to my suggestions, but a small fraction have not.  I have learned to not give advice willy-nilly to everyone having issues.  Because sometimes they just don't want to know.

I even had someone email me to question my motives in doing what I was doing, inferring that I was selfish and greedy because I wanted payment for a particular event I was organizing.

In the end I found myself unable to respond to the email and let it go unanswered.  She had obviously made up her mind about me and would not be swayed by any explanation or justification I might proffer for expecting a (small) remuneration for my time and knowledge.

Even though these interactions are the minority of the feedback I have received over the years, they have stung sufficiently that I am now extremely careful about who I offer free advice to.  Because you know how valuable advice is by how much you pay for it.

I have withdrawn from most of the social media type groups I have, at one time or another, belonged to because my heart actually aches when I see people post their intentions, using yarn that is going to cause them grief, processes that are not going to give them good results, using equipment that isn't the best.  All I can do is watch the disaster and heartache unfold.  And I can't.  So I exit stage left - and leave them to their struggles.

I have learned that not everyone is open to any kind of unsolicited suggestion. 

And so I keep my opinions pretty much to myself these days unless someone directly asks for my input.  Except here.  This is my blog, my opinions.  Anyone coming here is here because they choose to be here.  If they don't agree with me, there are plenty of other places to go.  Maybe too many.  How do you know who to listen to?

My advice is to find an expert who makes sense to you.  Learn whatever they can teach you.  Learn as much as you possibly can.  Learn enough to become your own expert.  When the student is ready, the teacher will appear...


Anonymous said...

What a great post- thank you!

Diane said...

I learned a lot from you; both as a student of Weaving and as an instructor. It is a shame that you have felt the need to withdraw from the social media sites as others could benefit from your knowledge. But occasionally you find that apprentice who is interested, appreciates your knowledge, and makes it all worth it. May you find that person or persons with whom to share your vast knowledge. May you have many of those interactions in the coming years.

Peg Cherre said...

Here's a bit of unsolicited information...I know you were a bit torn about whether to put ads on your blog in an attempt to earn a few cents. I was hesitant about what it would do to your blog, about how much I would hate it. In the doesn't even really annoy me. I just tune it out entirely. Which isn't really what you want to happen; you want some people to click on the ads to earn you money. I don't do that, but I am not annoyed by the ads.

Thought you might like to know.

Laura Fry said...

Diane, I have not gone away - if people want to contact me they can. And I am happy to try and help. I just can't watch the impending drama anymore. As I age and energy wanes, I am focusing my efforts on the Olds program. :)

Peg, I am giving the ads three months trial. So far I'm not terribly enthusiastic and may remove them at the end of January.

Burlington Ruth said...

HI Laura,
Just a quick note to say you are what you recommend. To me you are "an expert who makes sense." Thanks for being here for us.

Snarled Yarns said...

Well I for one am asking for your advice. I know you have had your AVL for a while, but have you woven on a weavebird? I am thinking about getting one and as a long term owner of the competition I was wondering if you had any advice. I am looking at it because it's the only computer-loom that can weave rugs. Thanks!

Laura Fry said...

No I have not had an opportunity to weave on a WeaveBird, sorry. said...

Laura. I have been weaving starting as a child from my Swedish grams. I will never know it all. And I learn from every weaver I meet. I so much appreciate your videos and ' magic' is my bible. Use all of these when I teach. Thank you for being so sharing and available with your knowledge. Keep those looms moving. Maggie

Annie said...

I loved this post. It could have been the story of my life. I also stopped taking part in the different groups I was on. It was a miracle I saw the tweet about this post (I hardly ever look at the Twitter posts)
But I have fond memories of the discussions we sometimes had in these groups. And as for the wrong decisions people make, when they are new to weaving (or anything else): everybody is entitled to make his or her own mistakes. It is a way to learn things, even if it is a hard way. I still love teaching, but don't care if my students decide to do things in their own way. I even try not to smile and say 'I told you so' when they come back to me and tell me I was right.
It works: more people ask my help now than I have time or energy to give. Yes, I'm aging, too.
But those contacts keep me alive.
Enjoy the things you do.
Best wishes, Ann (from the Netherlands, weaver, knitter, dyer, lace maker, spinner, teacher of many crafts, and some more I can't think of for the moment)

Judy said...

I'm a little sorry to read this--only because I've learned so much from your posts, videos, and blog as I have started my weaving journey. It's too bad others won't benefit as well--it's even worse that some folks can't take a helpful suggestion for what it is: A bit of caring and sharing from someone with knowledge about the subject. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so freely.

Rose F. said...

Who are you? An expert weaver. I like advice because I find weaving crazy complicated and I am glad there are people who know what they are doing. I sure don't! I was looking at your study on Rayon just the other day. I learned more studying the samples. Thank you for all your contributions to the weaving world.

Barbara Prete said...

I've missed your voice in the online forums where I first found your blog but I understand about prioritizing where you put your energy as someone about your age.
I've learned a lot from you as well as others and it has certainly helped me with the learning curve.
I do hope you publish your book in whatever form as I'm looking forward to adding it to your dvds in my library of reference material.