Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Four Stages of Not-Knowing and the First Stage of Kaivalyam in Weaving

Stage 1: I have no idea how to do this! I've never done it before. How would I know?

A stage marked by the recurring experience that no matter how much you learn, there are still vast black holes of emptiness in your knowledge. Or that the information may be somewhere in the messy closet of the brain, but you just can't find it.

Stage 2: There must be someone or something that can show me how to do this!

This stage is marked by hours spent on the Internet, keyword searching every permutation and combination of words, as well as the growing awareness that the answer is cached somewhere, never to be found, at the depths of page 93 of the search results.

Stage 3: Maybe I can someone who can explain this to me?

More hours on the Internet, trying to locate an individual who has done this before. Search of blogs, information sites, library data-bases, social networking sites for art and craft.

Accompanied by a sub-stage: having found a living-and-breathing teacher, then making the effort to write a not-too-needy, unstalkerish email to an utter stranger, asking for assistance. This stage also is accompanied by really small, very picky, slightly obsessive questioning, such as: in the handbook, the directions first ask you to use one color (singular), and then mention colors (plural); is this intended to suggest using only one color for the warp, or multiple colors? (Follow-up to actually asking this question: it's a misprint to be corrected in future editions.)

Note: this stage can last a long time.

Stage 4: Acceptance of the existential state of being a weaver working alone on the certification process, living with person(s) who I may drive insane with my very pointed weaving questions. Such as: if you're constructing a golden rectangle, do you create the square or the rectangle first? As you are driving on a busy expressway in lots of traffic. Also marked by a sense of isolation, as in: I am alone. There is no one to show me how to do this.

This stage follows soon after the arrival in the mail or at the library of the article/book/example located and purchased. (PayPal makes this way too easy; before you know it, you've bought something on Ebay.)

And what comes next, and this is the important part of this post:

The Stage of Kaivalyam: Sometimes understood to mean freedom. But I prefer my teacher's definition of improved clarity. You realize: I can do this. I need to start somewhere, give it a try, make some (many) mistakes, learn from the mess-up's, and try again.

A stage marked by movement from despair to achievment, from frustration to problem-solving. And much less time noodling on the Internet, which means more time for yarn-wrapping and reading books about crazy mathematical proportion theories and playing with the new set of color pencils (my first, and in a nifty aluminum case - how artistic!)

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