Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The "right" way to do it

At one point in the '90s, I was sitting and crocheting in my booth at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. A woman stepped up to me and said, "You're doing it wrong. Let me show you how."

At that point in my life, I had been crocheting for well over twenty years. I was making my living with my crocheted and sewn costume design business and had wholesale accounts for my crocheted Spirit Bells with Deva Lifewear and Wild Oats, among others. I somewhat brusquely responded that it was ok, I did not need her to show me the "right" way to crochet. I still wish I had been more diplomatic.

This past week, a spinner came down to my presentation of Spinning Tales at the Ozark Folk Center. I enjoy having fellow fiber artists at this informal noon program and we often have informative discussions. But, it seemed this women was upset with me because I don't finish my yarn "right." In retrospect, I wish I had visited with her more and had a conversation about different ways of finishing. Maybe we both would have learned something.

Now I have developed a level of mastery in the spinning, weaving, felting and crochet processes I use. I've been doing them for many years and on a constant, production basis. But I don't think that my way is the "right" way to do any of this - it is just my way.

When I teach, I used to let students follow their intuition and explore different ways of doing a craft. I still offer them creative freedom, but I have learned that we have a limited time together in class and the studetns are paying me to learn my way of spinning, weaving or cooking. I have become secure enough with my processes that when I have students come to me to learn, I show them how I do it, and will correct them when they are not doing it my way. This gives them a foundation. They can get started and going on a craft with a process that I know works. After they've practiced for a while, and if they continue in the craft, they will develop their own style.

And a new "right" way to do the craft will be born.

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