a woman sitting on the floor next to a basket of yarn.

Teaching and the Other Lessons that Matter – Part I

I recently taught brand-new, beginning weavers their very first weaving workshop. We, of course, walked through the varied steps required to stretch threads on a loom in order to weave. In fact, in a short three days we worked very diligently and dressed our looms twice. For those who weave, THAT is a big accomplishment!

So the weavers were immersed in the mechanical and logistical sides of preparation. They took notes and asked questions and together we clarified the mysterious process of “beaming on”. But weaving is also a creative endeavor and, unless you are following a step-by-step recipe, you have to believe that you can make choices and decisions that will not only work out but that reference your own voice. Some call it intuition, some call it gut instinct. Either way, you have to believe that you do have it and it is there to work with you while you create. 

One of my favorite ways to introduce this to students happens every time I am around weavers. I have spent years watching it prove itself over and over. Ask participants to choose colors for a project. And after they have brought their cones of fresh colors back to their looms, have them look at the clothes they are weaving. 80% of the time, the weavers will be wearing the colors they have chosen to weave with. 

“Revel in it! I exclaim! That’s your inner voice being heard!” 

It’s always fun to bring this up in class because, well, it’s just really interesting! But what happened recently took it to a new level. This instance blew me away because it was just so cool. 

We were starting on our second project and I was walking around the room watching the weavers setting up their looms and checking out their color choices and comparing them to their outfits. Again, it’s never 100% of the time so I wasn’t unhappy when I saw this particular participant wearing essentially two neutral colors but displaying a basket with a variety of saturated colors. Ok, that was a miss. But then she turned and crouched down to look in her basket and I was stunned. She couldn’t see the back of her shirt but I could and I snapped a photo of it. Take a look at the photo now. Do you see the circles of color on her shirt? And do you see the colors in her basket? Do you see how they match? Even her earrings suggest the blues. Just.So.Cool. Time and again, if we pay attention we really can see that we surround ourselves with subconscious choices. We really do have intuition and know what works for us. We really do have a voice.