Ignorance is BlissThomas Grey “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot” Einstein
“The only true knowledge is knowing that you know nothing.” Socrates


I have been reading Anni Albers on design. I have been thinking a lot about design for my Complex Weavers study group. I just read the proofs for the Handwoven blurb based on my telephone interview with Anita Osterhaug . . . these are all connected a little.

One issue that keeps coming up is “how to proceed?”

When Anita asked me about the deflected doubleweave coat, she said, “You must have sewn with handwoven quite a bit.” I responded that , “No, the coat was pretty much my first sewing project using handwoven fabric.” I was totally ignorant of all the issues/needs/specifics of sewing with handwoven fabric. I have sewn many garments and costumes over the years using commercial fabric, so I had “how hard could it be” in my mind. Well, it turns out that it can be hard, and there is a whole world of sewing “real” garments that had never entered my consciousness . . . and, in a way, just as well. Had I really known about the requirements of sewing a couture coat, I never would have done it. This is the idea that Anni Albers puts forth. That courage in design sometimes comes from not knowing or having been taught how it “should be done”. This ignorance can sometimes translate to innovation and fresh ideas.

I am trying to order my thoughts on this issue.

It is not about embracing ignorance or shunning study. It is more about recognizing the “ever-receding horizon” of weaving knowledge, i.e. the more you know the more you know you don’t know and realizing that there are wonders to weave, learn, and discover at every stage. Albers says that one has to have confidence to create. One cannot be too subject to authority. Meaning, we can’t be too intimidated by all that we don’t know or haven’t done.

I love when new weavers at our Guild bring in the first “harvests” from their looms. They beam! (sorry). They don’t see the technical issues with beat or sett because they haven’t learned about them yet. They see no obstacles except loom size, yarn prices and time. Often, the pieces are really lively because caution hasn’t occurred to them. I remember exactly how that felt (many years ago) – once I learned to warp a loom, there was nothing I couldn’t weave (I thought) or weave with. When I just started to weave my husband used to say that the pets (cats, dog and guinea pigs) started getting slightly panicked looks in their eyes because I was always casting around for more materials to weave with.

So, it is clear that one could weave their entire lifetime and still have more to learn. And one of the most important ways of learning (and learning what you need to learn) is proceeding boldly. Think of an idea and weave it. Weave yardage and sew with it. Look at it. What do you like? What don’t you like? Weave with fine threads. Weave with mohair. Weave a complex structure. How hard can it be . . .?

Anyway, I am trying to talk myself into proceeding boldly into the unknown of “Wordpress.” The only problem is that it is not fear that is stopping me . . . it is actual ignorance. Doh!

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