Ann is also a wonderful ceramic artist when she’s not writing about organisations and in her website, she shares that part of herself, the maker, where she “explores how we live through clay”.
I strongly recommend you check out her fantastic ceramic art of figurines that meld current day images and symbols with a medium that has been used for thousands of years in human evolution. They truly are amazing works of art (and I’m glad that she shares this on her professional website too) https://annemccrossan.com/2015/12/06/making/
(It reminds me of a video I saw through Craft Victoria on Gerry Wedd who does “subversive art” where he blends the age-old craft of pottery and ceramics with current day messages).
Well anyway, back to what I was saying….
At the time, I saved the link from Ann because I knew that I was going to revisit it. And sure enough, two years later I did.
A few days ago, I had an opportunity to meet Gilbert Kruidenier (@KruidConsulting), a member of my personal learning network on Twitter.
Gilbert talked to me about his work and how he came to Australia from the Netherlands. His story was a fascinating one and at one stage, he mentioned how he was exploring a new interest and passion which turns out to be a craft we don’t hear about anymore in this day and age.
Although I won’t share what it is here (you can ask him directly), it happened to be a craft that was endangered – and that’s when I remembered the link I had saved from Ann back in 2017 and revisited it.
The report that Ann shared talks about the various reasons why certain crafts are endangered some extinct like gold-beating (The process of hammering gold into extremely thin sheets (‘gold leaf’) and cricket ball making. Some are in the process of becoming extinct such as spade and saw making, paper marbling and so much more.
It made me think about the crafts that I have been doing for many years….mainly knitting (although knitting is still viable).
Around me, I see that people are losing the skill of creating something with their hands and it’s such a pity. At a time when we can effectively get all our needs met through digital platforms, one thing that stands us out is our ability to make stuff, to create.
It got me thinking about what I’ve been doing with regards to knitting and the social learning circles and communities I’m part of around this craft which brings it alive and keeps it alive for me and others.
I know that knitting brings me such joy. To know that you have planned, prepared, bought and made your own garment that no one else has in the world and gives you such pleasure that you made it yourself that one day, I’d like to share that joy of teaching others this craft.
Already, I’ve taught my nieces how to knit and when I see them pick up their knitting needles (or books), my heart beats with joy. I know that they’re keeping their minds and hands active and extract sheer pleasure and peacefulness knowing that one day, they’ll also share their love of the craft to their sons or daughters.
I’m now 50 years old and I’m thinking ahead to the next phase of my life. (Let’s face it, there’s less time ahead of me than behind me so I really need to think hard about how I choose to spend it). I’ve started to think about what new skills I’d like to pick up and learn.
It’s unlikely that for the next years until ‘formal retirement’, I’ll still be speaking about and with corporate Learning and Development (capital ‘L’). If anything, if I’m STILL talking, writing and sharing the same stuff about what L&D can do in organisations for more impact, I know that I haven’t progressed at all. That is, I haven’t “self-actualised” or made an impact in some way.
However, “learning and development” (little ‘L’) – the exploration of personal learning and development for the purposes of growth to become better versions of ourselves to build better networks and relationships with others that support new and emerging society is something I can be doing for the rest of my life – and doing it through role modelling, continual learning, practice, trial and experimentation for the purposes of self development than any need to create a business out of it.
Corporate Learning & Development is not the focus of my work – learning is.
To me, life is about learning – delving into and discovering yourself and what you care most about. I’m “feldganging” myself.
So what have I got in store for myself in later years?
- I see myself taking my knitting skills to the next level – advanced levels and where I incorporate international travel experiences where I can see the ENTIRE process of yarn making – from the time the wool is on the sheep’s back through to it being shorn, dyed, spun and knitted. I want to learn the entire process from start to finish and appreciate what goes into creating something from its origin. If I can formalise it through some formalised accreditation such as a certificate in textiles then, I’d gladly consider it.
- There’s a strong part of me that wants to buy an old knitting machine or even like the new and customised Addi Expressed machine (knitting machines contrary to belief, are actually very old instruments) or join associations like Machine Knitters to learn these old skills.
- In my future, I see opportunities to travel overseas to places like Scotland isles or Ireland for knitting tours
- Try my hand at learning how to spin https://www.hwsgv.org.au/classes
- Try my hand at learning how to weave with a loom (my mum is a loom weaver)
- I’ve been toying with the idea of then teaching children or women (especially vulnerable young women) how to knit – maybe approaching a school or as part of community service through the local library or other community centres; some part of me would also like to explore how I could organise and coordinate workshops and events around experiences like this for small groups of interested parties.
So what do you think?
Have you got a skill that you’d like to learn and hone? Have you got a skill that you can share to others? Do you derive pleasure and joy from creating stuff with your hands too? How are you making something old, new again?
On An Aside: Stories of Crafters who Reinvigorate their Craft
This morning I check my Twitter account and see that I’ve been mentioned in a Harold Jarche (@jarche) tweet where he shares the story of Concordia student quilts using 3D-printed fabric and embedded electronics who has now created a new craft form.
Similarly, I have known colleagues like Ann, in the past, who have created new and modern twists to crafts and do this outside of their normal 9-5 job. I’ll never forget the graduate who worked at a bank I was working with me who pleaded to keep her sideline job private from her manager. Outside of her finance planning role, she had a thriving business customising knitting machines, programming them with electronics, recreating new patterns (which were then sold – and the knitting machines themselves). She had a niche market for her skills in coding, rebuilding and recustomising old machines, creating knitting patterns, entrepreneurship, selling, community building, she was known in this field – however, it had to be kept quiet….meanwhile the bank was asking for people with new skills and capabilities but she couldn’t trust her manager enough to hold these new skills against her when it came to securing a place in the graduate program.