Friday, November 17, 2023

Stories from the Matrix


Yesterday, someone left a comment that started me thinking.

"It is not the tools the weaver uses, but how the weaver applies their knowledge and manages their tools." This principle needs to be stressed more. I see too many posts from new (and not-so-new) weavers that imply a belief that if one buys the correct product or tool, all weaving problems will be solved. Our brains are the ultimate tools."

Since I happen to agree with the comment, AND it's a message I have spent decades sharing, it is time to once again remind people of my latest book, Stories from the Matrix.

I also finished the last of the marking for Olds yesterday and I gotta say, I am going to miss bringing this message to the students who arrive anticipating - in some cases - that mastery of the craft will mean they don't make 'mistakes' anymore.  That when they achieve 'mastery' everything they make will be 'perfect'.

Um, ya, about that...

Just because you 'master' a task, doesn't mean you won't make mistakes.  Just because you buy the most expensive, most highly engineered tools, doesn't mean you won't make 'mistakes'.  Just because you've written a book (or three) doesn't mean you won't make 'mistakes'.

Mastering a craft is not about achieving 'perfection'.  It is an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the tools and materials the craftsperson is working with.  It is being able to problem solve WHEN something goes wrong.  Is it the equipment failing?  Or a failure of the weaver to make good choices in their approach to designing their cloth?  It is understanding the relationship between all of those things that go into the making of a textile and what might need to change when the results are not what was desired.

Stories from the Matrix isn't a 'textbook' in the way The Intentional Weaver was meant to be.  It is a more philosophical, shall we say, look at weaving and (my) life.  It lays out much more clearly the things that I believe in.  As such, this collection of essays addresses many different things - part travelogue, part instruction, part problem solving, part speculation.  

If someone thinks this sort of 'message' needs to be amplified, well, there is something that can be done - share the fact this book exists.  Let new(er) weavers know it exists, so that they can chew some of the things presented therein over, and maybe, just maybe, develop a much broader view of what 'mastering' weaving entails?

And yes, I'm still looking for book reviews, so if you've read my blog and appreciate what I write here, you will find that many of the things I touch on in this format are further expanded in Stories, where I was not constrained by the limitations of a 'blog'.  Most are not terribly long - a few pages.  Easy reading if you have a few minutes here and there.  And if you like what I have to say, share a book review with your guild members or on social media.  Or write a letter to Handwoven.  Or book me for a zoom presentation.  Topics are listed on my website.

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