Tuesday, February 12, 2019

F. A. I. L.

obligatory pretty picture

Words matter.  The words we say to ourselves - and to others - matter.

When I was a child, the playground taunt was 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me'.

But that's not true.

Words do cause harm.  Too often we believe the people telling us that we are failures, losers.  When we become adults we have had it drummed into our inner most self that if we 'fail' at something, we are a 'loser'.

But if there is a loser when we don't get the cloth we were after, who is the winner?

No one.  No one 'wins' when we don't manage to get the results we desire.

We need to re-imagine what is happening and we can do that by changing our inner language.

I'm not a huge fan of memes, but I do find short, sharp, pithy comments will sometimes break through to allow people to see the 'truth'.

Recently I saw the definition of 'fail' as First Attempt In Learning.

Our language seems to have become militarized, with people being 'beaten in their battle with cancer', the person 'fought valiantly but lost their battle with (name disease)'.

Life, *learning* isn't a battle.  We come.  We live.  We learn.  And then...we die.  Dying is not 'losing', it is the natural order of a life.  None of us gets out of here alive.

We need to change the inner dialogue so many of us live with on a daily basis.

We need to open ourselves to new experiences - even when we don't get the results we were after the first or even the 10th time.  It is famously said that when Edison was asked how it felt to fail at finding a filament for the light bulb 600 (or so) times, he replied that he had not failed - he had learned how NOT to make a filament.

If we let 'failure' determine what we will dream to do, attempt to do, fail at doing, then our horizons will be rather circumscribed.  Because every time we try something new, every time we attempt to learn how to do something, we will experience how not to do it.  Sometimes several times.

Like my dressing the loom and forgetting to go over the back beam.  Not just once, but twice.  In a row.  I'm not stupid, but I can be very, very slow...

Did I let that stop me?  No.  It was a head-desk moment, especially the second time in a row,  but I took it to heart, and remembered.

Most of the time we learn best by our 'mistakes'.  Sometimes the most valuable lesson is in learning what NOT to do.  Every time you find out what not to do, you come closer to finding out the answer for the 'right' way.  Or at least in the new circumstance.

Because every time you change something?  The 'right' answer might change, too.

Speaking of language - when you set out to learn a new craft, the very best thing you can do is learn the language of that technology.

The one that always puts my teeth on edge is when I see 'dying' when the word the person meant was 'dyeing'.  I've seen 'dying' more and more frequently, in publications where the author ought to have known better.  I blame auto-correct, but that's what proof reading is for and why authors need to proof read their galley proofs.

When it comes to weaving, the current correct terminology is treadles, not peddles.  My preference is for shaft instead of harness, but both are appropriate so long as everyone knows there are two words being used for the same thing.****

It's a brake not a break.  At least on a loom.

The 'reed' (because the splines used to be made from split reed) is made up of 'dents' (the spaces in the reed).

The ends per inch (epi) determines density, and is based on so many factors other than just the thickness or wraps per inch of a yarn.

Wool comes from a sheep or sometimes other animals although I prefer to specify what that other animal is.

Synthetic fibres are made from chemicals, most generally petroleum products.  Rayon is not actually 'synthetic' because its chemical make up is cellulose - it behaves like other cellulose fibres and will degrade back into 'dust' unlike synthetics.

Pay attention to language.  It does matter.

**** 'harness' when it comes to drawlooms means a group of shafts, not a single shaft - so you have the ground 'harness' which may be four or five or 10 shafts, then the pattern shafts which may be a harness of 50 shafts - and so on.

Currently reading Careless Love by Peter Robinson


Unknown said...

So timely! I am learning a lot lately. After 3.5 years weaving, the last few projects have been a nightmare of Learning Opportunities! But still I weave.

Portia's Cloth said...

Reminds me of the time in the woven shibori workshop where I was so eager to see what I had created that I dyed my cotton sample without soaking it in the soda ash solution first, and then I did it the second time again without the soda ash. Third time I finally managed to include the soda ash step - got a good result for the sample and haven't forgotten the soda ash again - yet!

Chelsea Fremming said...

Thank you for this post, I needed it today!