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  • Sara Nordling

On Learning from Others

One of the scarves from Fort Wayne Weavers Guild, Guild Challenge 2018 on color and weave.

Recently I had a chance to visit the Weavers Guild of the North Shore, who meet in Evanston, Illinois. The evening before I was with my weaver’s guild in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This posting was prompted by a comment made at my guild meeting and then reinforced on my visit to the Illinois guild.

The comment that was made was something to the effect of “Weavers are so great. They willingly share information and techniques, not like other art/craft groups I have been to where people aren’t willing to share information.” (And if I could remember who said the quote I would be willing to give her credit.) There was general assent for it around the table. Weavers do share their craft. Most weavers are willing to share ideas, teach others, and learn from others as well. We are not all at the same level or have the same interests. Still, the ideas of others generate new ideas for you, no matter what your weaving level or interest.

Another scarf from the color and weave challenge.

As I said, the next day I was talking to the Weavers Guild of the North Shore. I met many wonderful weavers there, weavers with different talents and explorations. I was excited to share my information with them but equally excited to be inspired by them. This is one of the reasons I teach. I learn something from every class. Someone has a new idea or a different way of doing something that inspires me. The group itself has energy. Someone will show a woven item. Someone else may comment make a comment not only complimenting the item but adding a “what if” to the equation. This moves the thoughts and ideas forward. Not only did you just see a new thing but you also heard of a new option or variation on the idea. This, in turn, may spark a new idea in your own mind. The collective energy of the group feeds new ideas and possibilities. This is also the main reason for my “no head phones” rule when I teach my university art classes. With headphones you tend to be isolated from the group. We learn from each other. Groups have creative energy. That energy can feed a group, excite a group, and help the individuals of that group grow more and faster than they would on their own.

Scarf from the color and weave challenge.

Fine for the extroverts you say. But introverts get their energy elsewhere. Yes, and no. An introvert approaches this group energy in a different way. Okay, I have no scientific studies on this, just observations. Introverts still see what others do, see the new techniques, be challenged by a weaving someone else has made. They may not add much to the discussion or jump in with further ideas. Still, they benefit from the group, just in a different way. And at next meeting you just may see what they have done with it!

So, go out there! Meet new weavers. Take a class. Go to a conference. Join a study group on line, in your guild, through Complex Weavers, or any other way you can think of. Visit a different guild or plan your vacation to connect with a weaver you have met on Facebook, or through Complex Weavers, or any other source. We learn from others. We grow in community. Happy growing season!

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