drawing class 1992

drawing class 1992

 As I’ve mentioned I’m trying to learn about tapestry weaving because it seems to “light me up” more than knitting clothes.

While I was unweaving half a training piece – because I’d learned what I wanted from it and because I’m cheap and wanted to salvage even my yarn scraps and warp – I was thinking that if somebody saw me they’d probably recommend doing some of the samplers from the weaving books to learn the various techniques for making stripes, curves etc.

The thing is, I just don’t roll that way. I don’t mind my samplers being useless when I’m done, but just doing colour blocks bores me so much I want to scream. And then I don’t pay attention and make mistakes. I also don’t learn when following a recipe, I have to look it up and read the instructions every. single. time.


My first tapestry sampler with sketches.

And that’s how I learn best: figuring things out by myself, see what happens when I make mistakes. I remember, I make conclusions leading to theories that, when tested, work better and better based on my previous actions etc. And I remember it for next time. Then if I get stuck, I consult books and tutorials. I may browse various weaving books and work on my initial impressions and little hints that stick in my brain at random. I don’t read them from cover to cover and just absorb it all in one sitting.

I can learn from books, but only if the subject is one that comes more natural to me or really interests me. But it still comes second to doing. Another thing which can make a huge difference is intention. I hated physics and chemistry in school, only subject that was worse was PE. I skipped all the chapters with drawings of molecules in some of the old dye books I got from the library because my eyes just started to cross. But here I am happily playing with pH values, mordants etc. and having a blast – because it has a desired outcome.

How do you like to get your material presented, so that you may learn best/easiest/most fun? Books, workshops, lectures, schematics, recipes, or the more chatty form? Do you want to see someone else do before you put your hands to it? Or are you a listener?

The funny thing is, I always thought I could learn just by observing and thinking. And yes, it works for theory – but not skill. And I think it’s rather amazing (as well as frustrating) that the mind-body connection never occurred to me sooner. And nobody told me.

Cotton yarn with 10 surface treatments ready to dye

Cotton yarn with 10 surface treatments ready to dye