Saturday, August 1, 2020

A Little Advice

Some scarves woven a few years ago now.  The colours still appeal to me.  

One of the things I see over and over again, teaching adults, is that adults expect to not make 'mistakes'.  They expect that because they are adults their results will be 'perfect' upon first try.

Here is a little advice for anyone who thinks that way:  You aren't perfect.  Not right away.  Not on the very first try at something new.

This time of pandemic isolating where so many people took up making bread is a case in point.

Baking good bread is not something that necessarily happens with the first attempt.  Each baker will have to work with the flour they have, the yeast that is available to them, even the environment - the elevation, the humidity.  When I took up bread making it took at least 7 attempts before I had results that I felt were 'good'.  That didn't mean we couldn't eat my previous loaves - just that they weren't quite right - yet.

Those last two variables are probably the hardest to figure out because someone living at sea level will have a different recipe than someone who lives at, say 3000 feet.  Or 9000 feet.

Weaving isn't all that different from baking.  Each weaver has their loom, their own intuitive understanding of the materials they are using (or not), the environment in which they live.

The relative humidity will affect the materials in ways that may seem strange, mystical and awkward.  If someone lives in a very arid climate they might have a completely different experience with something like linen than someone living in a humid climate.

Until the practitioner understands the 'hidden' factors in the equation, results may be less than desired.

Have you failed?  Not really, if you have learned from the experience.

Some people use the word 'fail' as an acronym:


My father always warned us kids to beware of someone who made something look easy.  He referred to anything mom made as her 'building' it.  As in - my wife built the cake.

As I chose to become a weaver while my father was in the last months of his life, his words rang true to me.  I was not just 'making' textiles.  I was about to set out on a journey to build a life.

And here I am.

Was it worth it?  Yes.
Have I had failures?  Oh my yes, yes I have.
Have I accepted that a failure on my part means that I am not good enough?  No, I have not.

Neither do I know everything there is to know about how a textile is created.  Like yesterday, a friend asked me a very technical question about tablet weaving.  I had no advice to give her because I simply did not know.  But I knew someone who could probably give her a hand, so I put them in touch with each other.

Knowing when we don't know something allows us to give good help to others.  And in this case?  I truly had no idea because while I have done tablet weaving, I could not give solid technical information.  

Even as a 'master' weaver, I still do not know it all.  And never will.

But I will continue the journey because I do still learn stuff.  And the learning is, in the end, the whole point.

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