It's been interesting the past few years, to see how society has evolved from trusting scientists to arguing with them. As if a few searches on You Tube or Google equals an 'expert' level of knowledge about something.
I hesitated for a long time to accept the mantle of 'expert' when it comes to weaving. It took several years before I added the qualification to my business cards and hang tags.
It took even longer before I felt I 'owned' the designation. Because the one thing you learn when you take a deep dive into a subject is how much more there is to learn. That you don't know it 'all'. And just how conditional what you know actually is.
I'm now old enough that I don't much care about titles. None of what I have done was done for the ribbons or my CV/resume. In fact I stopped tracking my 'accomplishments' back in the 1990s. when it grew to over 3 pages, I figured no one would read it anyway. And I was tired of keeping it up to date.
Either people know who I am, or they don't. And a 10 page resume of all the workshops I've taught, the magazine articles I've had published, the awards I've won, become just one more chore to keep current.
I DO know things. I know quite a few things - about weaving, making cloth, wet finishing it. designing a cloth to serve a function.
Do I still make mistakes? Of course I do. The warp I cut off the loom last had a threading error I didn't spot until I'd already woven six towels.
Yesterday I pressed them and yup, sure enough, it's still there. It's pretty minimal and won't actually much affect how the towels will function. But! They are not 'perfect'.
Does that make me less of an 'expert'? Not really. It just makes me human. A human with eyesight that is aging at the same rate as the rest of my body. And frankly after the shingles in my eye? I'm just grateful I didn't lose the sight in that eye entirely.
All human knowledge hinges on specifics. My reality is different from someone else's. I am not the 'only' expert in the field, nor do I pretend to be the 'final' word in anything.
I still learn. I still make discoveries. I experiment and sometimes those fail. But I've still learned something by trying them. That is, after all, how we learn. We push the boundaries of current knowledge.
There are times I work to the 'less than ideal' knowing that in the end it isn't going to make much of a difference to the finished cloth. 'Mastering' the craft means understanding the materials, equipment and processes and when you can bend the 'rules' - and get away with it.
So - choose an expert. Learn as much as you can from them. Then choose another expert. They will have different experiences, learned different lessons. Ultimately become your own expert.
And if you want to learn from me, I'll be hanging out at the School of Sweet Georgia. Or you can buy my books.