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To teach…or not

Saori cloth

Just what is teaching? It means different things to different people.

Seeing weavers and weavers-to-be coming to my studio is more like greeting friends and giving them the opportunity to ‘remember’ how they can create with yarn and thread.  Isn’t opportunity and exposure the first aspect of learning. Finding out what you like to do and then doing it.

Misao Jo, the founder of the Saori movement, once said that she wasn’t a teacher but a ‘miner of gems’. But I find I don’t have to dig underground to uncover this burning desire to create in anyone. It’s truly remarkable and I wouldn’t have ever though it possible.  I think teachers can underestimate the abilities inherent in everyone as we sometimes get carried away with our own knowledge, in our own mind.

When I was at Sturt this year I saw Katalin Sallai the Marquetry teacher mending or doing a work around for a mistake made in the class. Now this is what an expert can do. Mistakes can generally be recovered because we’ve all made them and that is part of stepping to being an expert in the field. Being able to use the tools and materials to get what you want and how you want it is the hallmark of the expert. To start in weaving you don’t have to be an expert, you just need to be a person. But from there expertise will grow gradually and with an open mind the work will flower too.

Textile woven by Lydia.

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