Wheat Wrote WHAT?!

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Correct vs Right vs Because I said so

April 12th, 2016 at 06:57 am » Comments (0)

In my mind, thinking of craft and especially fiber work. There is a world of difference between

—- Wanting to be be Correct – thus, by necessity, a willingness to research, ask questions, especially dumb questions and sometimes question where you think you already know the answers, And most importantly of all – accept correction. And the often difficult to accept “tough love”

— Wanting to be Right simply means because I said so. Were my parents alive today, they would tell you that while I might comply – it was never an answer that taught me anything other than nominal obedience.

A reasonable person might think I had learned by now that most will choose easy or a version of correct that suits their needs personally or most often “business”. Yes I understand, but no I choose not to accept – because that is not the tradition I want to be a part of.

My personal goal is to leave what is “right” to the emotional and spiritual like “sex, religion and politics” because those often subjective. but when it comes to the craft, work on correct –







Enjoying Our Art – In The Making

September 7th, 2015 at 06:17 am » Comments (0)

In the context of what is Good Art & How To Judge it?
this conversation with myself (and you if you care to join in) has been sitting in my blog draft files for a very long time. It seemed to fit a topic in a an art group and so time to clean it up a bit and share with you.

I am fortunate to have been given many opportunities both formal and self-study – to “learn the rules” on many subjects – including art and how to make it in many mediums.

Apparently something in my upbringing requires me to know the rules before I break them. There were two captains who insisted the only reason I could quote General Orders was to demonstrate I had not really violated any,. just added elastic to the envelope.

Does knowing rules qualify me to judge the work of another –
no it does now outside very narrow parameters.
(as in the classroom and competition situations where certain
application of the rules are expected)

Does Experience sometimes enable me to offer blunt suggestion on what might improve the quality of their work – technique, presentation, those parameters outsides the ABC’s that only the beholder can judge?
Yes it does, but few really want to hear it>
Instead, unhappily for all, few really want blunt suggestions time may allow – so one ends up in endless and unhelpful conversation about how to offer assistance.

Does knowing the rules entitle me to decide Good from Bad –
well, Cinema (movies) are considered art and
Lord know the “Critics” often significantly disagree among
themselves and with the viewing public. Or is that the “I know it when I see it” mindset –

What about “judging” what will sell?
Judging what will sell is, now that is something I have been pretty good at – for myself and others – but again, far too many do not want to invest the time and even the pennies that will elevate their work from home made to hand crafted?

My only steadfast rule for judging art is both simple and complex –

Does the work of “Art” most create emotion –

If we accept the ABC rights (Art, Beauty, Color) of the beholder,
we free ourselves to be creative,
using rules when helpful,
adding elastic to the envelope as needed.

Perhaps instead of endless introspection on the value of “Our Art”
just decide – Is this piece one where I am in it for the money –
whether those sales be made on line, at a flea market or at the studio or gallery or even commission works level.

If it is “for the money” admit that to yourself and make your choices accordingly – just don’t make excuses if you fail for any reason related to quality of workmanship.

One common defense is those not quite sure of their value – in the eyes of others – is to fall back to pointing out those considered Masters of their craft in today who were disavowed in their own era in mind as you work.

You do not need that if your goal is ART
Art is what you do because you have no other choice
The work you produce for the sake of ART
ONLY has to satisfy you –

Amazing how simple it can be when the true goal is identified early in the process –
ART or MONEY
One less thing to consider – with energy free to find the right solutions to make your work something you believe in for its intended purpose.

ART MUST CREATE EMOTION
even it is just, oh love the colors or
even if it is only a sense of relief it is done

So my goal is always my choice of “closing salutation”
it even applies to some of the darkest of works

Enjoy The Making
Wheat







Why to What If

June 18th, 2015 at 09:39 am » Comments (0)

“They” (I can hear my father now – “WHO IS THEY” ) say that one should not make “big” decisions for at least a year after some major event – birth of a child, marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, major change in circumstances – losing a job – starting a new job, stock market crashes – identity theft, and certainly while under the influence of mood altering medications.

Some choices do have to be made under the trying conditions created by major changes – be those change good or bad = sorrowful or joyful.

Still I have come to believe while maybe one should not actively implement those decisions if there is “time” to consider, one should make a note of what might a moment of unusual clarity for what really matters and how best to get there – preferably without burning too many bridges in case of a need to retreat.

Besides, some constructive “What If” thinking can often lead one down interesting lines of thought.







Why Words Matter

May 22nd, 2015 at 06:51 am » Comments (0)

TheHenry and I often have a discussion about nature & nurture. “Like My Mama Often Told Me” – words matter, correct use is preferred. Now, she could make up silly with the best of them – In my entire life I can only remember ONE occasion when the words HELL or DAMN were spoken –
If you wanted to be stopped in your verbal tracks, just try to use a made up word as if it was real without “explaining”. (okay, proving you actually knew what you were talking about.) – as you may imagine – thick tomes with Merriam Webster, Brittannica , The Bible shared a shelf with the History of Westchester County, and another about the City of Yonkers –
Sharing those lower shelves was a wonderful set of childrens books – I do not remember having any “golden” books, but I remember an encyclopedia like set of Children’s books, I think those were passed on to the Doerfler children –
Escoffier’s, The Joy of Cooking, and of course thanks to our real Aunty Betty – editions of the Betty Crocker cookbooks. These have also been gifted to family over the years – because once you learn the basics of a technique and how certain variables (ingredients) will affect the outcome – all you need are basic recipes and notes with your variations on the theme.

When I wanted to learn to sew, Aunt Jewl sent a basic book on clothing construction and Aunt Vi recommended a text on pattern making.

Every motor vehicle had its Chilton’s manual “on the shelf”. There were (and still are) Slip cases with owners manuals or technique references on the shelves – then mostly kitchen appliances, and of course the much used note book on bike repair.

To this day, chaotic as my life can get – you can still find my “technical” references in slipcases, by “skill” on the shelves and one in the Kitchen for appliances.
So why am I sharing this –

Because words matter – and without knowing their proper meaning and use, or at least how to learn, one cannot hope to progress.

Thank you for my parents for teaching their children “what is worth having is worth working for…. and paramount amount those things are learning”

And another Thank you for the late Margaret D’Ascoli. Mrs D mentored that teenager into using an incorrigible nature as a tool and respect for language and literature.

Most of all I am grateful to my parents who taught by example how vital a willingness “to look dumb” and ask questions, say I don’t know and perhaps most importantly not to accept less than factual unless clearly labelled opinion is a path worth following.







Choosing A Class

May 20th, 2015 at 17:00 pm » Comments (0)

I am on a braiding binge and so doing lots of thinking about “things I wish I knew back when”

Within that context – let’s consider how one might, in a near perfect world, take a serious approach to Japanese braiding and with future side trips in the much larger world of Fiber Art & Jewelry Braid Making.

These suggestions may not apply to your situation and yes, may be outside your means at this time.
“Let not your heart be troubled… ”
One of the best things about braiding, is opportunity exists at many levels of commitments in time and money
So use what you can as a starting point, and adapt as needs be to make it work for you.

Plus, everyone should be able to find some level of involvement withing their means that will bring them enjoyment in the making of braids.

Equally, there is NOTHING wrong with being among those who view braiding as just another tool in their jewelry making technique box so long as they are honest about their products.

But if that is you, you might want to stop reading now.

So why am I writing this rant –

Quite frankly, I care too much to be less than appalled by the background and training of those who would take your money in exchange for likely next to nothing other than how to screw the legs into your stand and generally exhibit no respect as an artisan for the craft they profess to be competent to teach.

The goal for this discussion is NOT to be “teacher specific” – rather to list and understand things that will best serve YOUR needs as a student at the level of your present expertise – a starting point for your own due diligence.

In case you were not sure so far, these are admittedly strongly held beliefs – but feel free to discuss the point and not the persons

Please be compassionate to your would be fellow students. Nothing can destroy a class for all involved when it is intended to build on a specific level of confidence. As with all “rules” there are exceptions, and “Japanese Braiding” holds a qualified exception

At one time or another we have all taken a class where there was someone who should not have been there. Way over their head, and pulling the rest of the class under along the way.

Be honest first with yourself and if you are determined, then contact the teacher and explain your situation honestly. Let them decide if it is worth your time and money to participate.

If needed accept you don’t meet the prerequisite gracefully and wait for a better opportunity.

Exceptions sometimes exist = when the class is led by a Japanese “trained” teacher – One whose training, skill and expertise represent a high level of competence in the craft AND the ability to teach. Why is this? Because their ingrained study and teaching ethics includes instruction with multiple levels of teaching – A Japanese one room school house if you will. Likely exists in other cultures and maybe in modern programs like the UK’s Cities & Guilds.

There are some excellent mentors to help you get started on your “braiding” journey in the use of the most basic equipment, the braiding stand either “flat top” or Marudai. If you are not yet able to participate in class, I truly hope you will find one who is a good fit to your needs.

If someone is kind enough to try to help you, one thing to expect is that at some point they will say it is time for you to make the commitment and find a way to study with a top level teacher. Do not feel abandoned, try to understand that they may know you need something different than they can offer.

So CAN you learn to use a marudai to make braids without taking a class? Some can – many try and even do but should you?

Speaking from experience – having to “unlearn” bad habits is second only to “unbraiding” in my least favorite learning experiences, so if you can, as early as you can after you determine that braiding on a stand is “right for you”
Find a way to learn from a well qualified instructor.

Can you learn to use a marudai CORRECTLY and create a basis for doing more than the “starting structures” of each braid family?

I don’t think so – there are just to many subtleties not covered in any current book or DVD that must be shown, first hand, with the velvet glove needed to guide you into the tiny differences.

Does that mean you should not try – of course not – probably not, but know up front that you are creating long term obstacles.

So what kinds of questions should you ask

Recently, as a morph of a discussion, I saw a really excellent summary of what one should look for in a teacher of braiding on a Marudai or “flat top” – and I hope this garners enough comments to create such a list –

Meanwhile, if I am going to pay for a class, I want some confidence that the teacher will have sufficient training to teach it “right”.

There are very specific reasons for every nuance of Marudai (and all other Kumihimo as well) –

The first things I would look for in a class description is a “defined” skill level and what if any prerequisites are required.

For formal learning opportunities (retreats, conference, ongoing study groups) – there is often a very strong correlation between costs and quality when one is considering fiber art education.
The obvious exception is when the class is being sponsored by an educational group such as a guild – and because of the quality of the setting, Then, dues paying members get a break because some of the costs are a membership benefit.

So it only seems prudent before spending hundreds of dollars to ask a question or twelve.

Look at the teach bio – with whom have they studied?
How long have they been involved in the craft –
What specific experience and expertise do they claim

Look at their work – yes, you may be a beginner, but is this something you “aspire” to create?

If the bio is not specific – ask how long they have been braiding – where else have they formally taught.

See what they share on line in braiding venues – does their commitment to the craft fall in line with yours?

Those are my openers –

Let’s work together to make a list of the factors to be considered before you commit your hard earned free time and money.

Definitely looking forward to hearing your comments here or in Facebook at either Beaded Braids Kumihimo & More
or the AllJustString community page

Or if you are shy, email Email wheat@itsalljuststring.com

Thanks for reading ….

Enjoy The Making,

Wheat







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    Wheat Wrote WHAT !?!Assumes ONLY YOU can properly and completely perform the necessary due diligence to determine your course of action in life or business - ALL article, like all on this blog, are a starting point, not the last word by any means. While I hope it is worth more, its value is exactly the same as what you paid for it – no dollars.
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