Thursday, September 30, 2021



It is always interesting that trees, even of the same species, will sometimes turn colour at different times.

With the past few days of cooler, wetter weather, the colour has really come on in some of the mountain ash across the street.  But not all.  The one in the yard next to this one is still mostly green.  

And it's a good example of how not every individual in a species will develop at the same time.

A lesson we tend to overlook and should not.

So when I'm teaching, I am aware that not everyone in the room will learn what I'm teaching at the same time or the same rate of comprehension.  I tend to repeat things over and over again.

Sometimes people contact me and say that something I wrote recently resonated with them and are delighted at learning The Thing.

While I am always delighted to hear of such 'discoveries', I have essentially been saying the same things for literally decades.

At lunch one day at the John C. Campbell Folk School, the person sitting next to me shared that they are an educator, researching how people learn.  And what they are discovering is that if there are any 'holes' in someone's foundation of knowledge, they quite literally cannot take in any information that builds on the information that is missing - because it hasn't been learned.  Yet.

This resonated with me because I have seen the dynamic over and over again.  I will go into a classroom, usually with a vast array of experience and knowledge, some people very new, some with decades of weaving under their belt.  And time and again, the more experienced weaver will suddenly see something that they hadn't been able to understand previously, begin to make sense.

Sometimes it's fairly esoteric.  Sometimes it is really basic.  But they were missing the block of knowledge to build upon because they didn't have the foundation on which TO build.

Over the years I stopped feeling embarrassed about repeating things over and over and over again.  The way memory works is that information will go into the short term inbox, but in order to transfer that knowledge into long term storage, the mind must shut down more information coming in.  So the 3 or 4 sentences they 'miss' while that transfer takes place means that sometimes they simply do not absorb the information.  And so the hole continues, preventing the absorption of information that needs that kernel to build on.

I enjoy teaching people with a basic understanding of the craft because I hope to invest them with more of the subtleties of the craft and for that they need to have at least a partial foundation of knowledge to build on.  I also bang on about the same things, but hopefully examine them from different perspectives.  Because I don't know what someone is missing, I don't know what they have been told, I don't know what they need to take their next step in learning.  So I just keep sharing information that I feel really needs to be understood for a weaver to make good decisions.

Yesterday I finished gathering the materials for the taping next week.  Doug has done the laundry and next step is to begin filling my suitcase with what I will need for a week away.  Last minute communications with details have been examined, and I think we are as ready as we can be until I am there and the van is unloaded.  On their end they have crunched numbers, made up charts, schedules, attempted to estimate how long each segment will take so that we can re-stage for the different segments.  For 120 minutes (estimated) of finished presentation, we will spend all day getting the scenes staged, props to hand and filmed -with re-takes as necessary.  The wet finishing topic will flow fairly smoothly from one stage to the next.  The skills tape is estimated to be 240 minutes and we have 3 days scheduled to film that.  Given the nature of weaving, it will be filmed out of sequence, so then continuity is a consideration as well.  It will be four days of 9-5, very intense hours.

I'm glad Doug is going to be with me because I have a feeling that by the end of the week I am going to be limp as a rag.

But I'm looking forward to this happening and crossing all cross-ables to get it done.  The expectation is to have the classes ready for the new year.  When the class is ready to go live, I will be sure to share.  And I hope you all will spread the news, too.

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