Thursday, October 20, 2011

Note to self - remember to be a beginner

TCDE 1992
Years ago, I took modern dance from a wonderful woman named Dr. Dorothy Floyd. She founded the Tennessee Children's Dance Ensemble. Dr Floyd died more than 10 years ago but her memory lives on in the wonderful troupe that still performs and in the stories of many students like me. I was part of what we lovingly called "Dr. Floyd's Class of Amazing Women."

Class would begin at 9pm after all the little dancers had headed home to homework and bed. A group of adults - tall and short, thin and not so thin, young and old, those who had danced all their lives and those who were taking their first class would gather. We would begin with a choreographed warm up routine on the floor. Then, with Dr. Floyd's direction, we would begin to move across the floor. We would dance for 90 minutes. She created magic - that motley crew would dance together in unison - and in that moment we felt graceful and beautiful. No  - we were graceful and beautiful.

Just as magical as our dancing, was the time we spent talking together after class. We would sit on the floor and Dr. Floyd would prompt us with some statement or question. We would spend the next 30 minutes sharing our lives and our perspectives. One of the most memorable conversations was about confidence. She talked about how if you ask a group of 1st graders to "raise your hand if you can dance" - every hand would go up. Raise your hand if you can sing - all hands up. Draw? All hands again. But what about us? How many hands would go up for dancing? singing? drawing? What happened as we grew that gave us the idea that we "can't do?"

I have a friend whose wife teaches fourth grade. By fourth grade, kids have begun to compare themselves academically with their peers (probably starts well before then) and their confidence in doing different things; math, writing, singing, dancing, drawing takes a nose dive. My friend tells the story about a child who came to his wife and said, "I am bad at math." "Why do you say that?" she asked. "I can't do multiplication," he said. So the conversation went on ---- Can you add? yes. Can you subtract? yes. How long have you been doing those? since second grade. How long have you been doing multiplication? since last week. Could you call yourself a beginner multiplier? beginners don't have to know how to do something perfectly or to know everything. Could you be a beginner? "Yeah - I could be a beginner."

My new rug warp - baby pastels

SO - I am ready to raise my hand if someone asks if I can weave. I would raise my hand joyfully - maybe even wave it around like a little 1st grader. BUT - I also know that I will probably always feel like a beginner weaver - I don't do it perfectly and I certainly don't know everything. But, I find pleasure in trying new things and using new materials. It is fun being a beginner.

A Threaded Loom Such a Feeling of Accomplishment!

As a beginner what have I learned (re-learned) this week -

  • No matter how careful I think I am being with the daisy-chained warp it seems like it is a tangled mess - I think I am just going to have to cut off those last 4 yards - and then with patience and gentle finger combing - I am at the end.
  • Threading and winding on a warp always takes three times longer than I think it will.
  • Some one else's priority always gets in the way of my warping plans. I need to get over it.
  • If I have spent all evening threading heddles - I need to take two ibuprophen before going to bed.
  • Nasty, old, threadbare chenille bedspreads make wonderful rugs.
  • When weaving strips of white chenille bedspreads into a rug - do not wear black yoga pants!
Old Chenille Bedspread = Beautiful Nubby Rug

To other "beginner weavers" be gentle with yourself and enjoy!


P.S. After doing a preview I just lost this whole post - did you hear my hysterical laughter? Thankfully, I was saved by the undo button. Yes, I am a beginner blogger too. 


Hilary said...

I usually sectionally warp, but occasionally I put a warp on the warping board, and of course when I teach weaving, I always use the board.
I NEVER chain my warps. I am sorry, but I think that is the most insane thing in the world. I tie my warps in several places, put the cross on my hand, or on two lease sticks, whichever you prefer, and drop the whole warp, starting with the end first, into a plastic grocery bag. I even store warps for later in them. It works like a charm.
Try it!!!

LA said...

Now, I REALLY applaud your restraint on Tuesday when you saw a whole tub of chenille bedspreads!!!! I haven't been by Goodwill lately..........

Linda said...

Your rug looks great! I am a terrible warp chainer so I don't bother anymore. To me it twists the yarn. I agree with Hilary! Try doing what she said. I think you will like it better.


Sharon said...

Well, and I laughed with you - great post.

Tina J said...

Sometimes it does seem like the warp will never be beamed doesn't it, even more so when you are doing it on your own! I love the rug!

Anonymous said...

I've been weaving for 35 years and there are days when I feel like a 'beginner' too. It's what drew me to the craft - that I could study the creation of textiles for my life and never know it all. Wonderful post. Sounds like a fabulous instructor and class.