New Home Forums Philosophy, Mindset & Preparation Permission to make (and to ignore the rules)

4 replies, 2 voices Last updated by  Deb Robson 6 years, 5 months ago
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  • #11942

    Deb Robson
    Adventurer
    @robson

    I teach fiber qualities in the context of spinning, knitting, weaving, and other from-the-raw-material-up textile crafts. Most of the people who come to me do want to spin their own yarn. Some want to start with the yarn already made and move from there. My focus is natural, animal-source fibers, especially wools.

    The transformation work that I already do, and will continue to emphasize, involves helping people understand that there are no rules and that they can learn to trust their fingers. The criteria for success don’t involve perfection or creating a specific result. They do include (1) is what they’re doing interesting and enjoyable? and (2) do they like what they’re making–either because of what it is in itself, or because of what they are learning from it?

    That’s not as clearly articulated as I’d like it to be. In the context of in-person workshops, I express these things over time, and with examples, and one-on-one for each participant.

    When I learned to spin in the 1970s, there were no teachers. There were a couple of books that were just wonderful, although now they would be considered boring (black-and-white, no photos–but some great line drawings!). We taught ourselves. We made a lot of “mistakes.” Finding tools was a bit of a challenge, and we couldn’t even get prepared fiber. We had to find sheep, and those sheep were almost certainly being raised for meat, not for wool, so the quality of the fiber wasn’t great.

    Today’s spinners have so many choices–types of wheels, varieties of fibers, colors, and teachers (in-person and through DVDs, books, online resources, and more). It’s bewildering, and they go into the craft looking for rules and wanting to “do it right.” Many teachers give them rules, and many of those rules are helpful–as guidelines!

    I like to break them out of that straightjacket approach.

    I like to teach that learning a rhythm of craft is a valid approach, at least as valid as measuring angles of twist and counting treadles and calculating drive ratios.

    I also like to help them become more sophisticated consumers of fibers, able to make textiles that function better for their intended purpose and that last longer. While my approach to making yarn is organic and relaxed, I have (and help others achieve) high standards for quality. Without stressing out–in fact, the opposite.

    More: as fiber folk learn more about the materials that they have access to and can choose to use, they also become aware that their choices can have a significant impact on the survival of the animals that produce those fibers, and of textile traditions that require materials with specific qualities that can only be produced by particular animals.

    So the teaching ends up being about genetic and cultural diversity, as well as individual creativity.

    #11963

    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide
    @bradleytmorris

    I just love how passionate you are about this Deb. Spinning, knitting, weaving seem to be an art form that’s making a comeback and you are one of the people who get to help spear that movement by making it available in the digital Universe. I love that you teach people to trust themselves in the process.

    #12032

    Deb Robson
    Adventurer
    @robson

    Thanks, Bradley.

    And here’s my map, draft 1.

    #12049

    Bradley Morris
    Mountain Guide
    @bradleytmorris

    Woohoo Deb!! It looks so fun when you put it together like that. How’d it feel to make your journey map? What did you learn or what excited you?

    #12254

    Deb Robson
    Adventurer
    @robson

    I got to put stuff in visible form that’s taking up space in my head. Distinguishes between what others own and what I own–something I think about, and making it visible is good.

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