Life Long Learning

As of late, I have been thinking a lot about lifelong learning and art. I teach all ages, as you may know, but recently I've worked with a group of women who came into my class looking to be more fine artists, than craft. This is a complicated discussion to be had, here, but I must say that It came to be a wonderful experience as we all pushed our own abilities into what I believe to be art: Creating Meaning...

I often teach things like bookbinding, painting, and design, just touching the tip of the iceberg of skill. Skill building is something that we must all start with, no matter what we are doing. The meaning could seep in over time, but unless the ability to make it “work” isn’t refined, things can literally fall apart.

In my workshop with these amazing women, the first day I asked if they were artists. Most said no. When I asked them what they create, however, the list went on and on. Many of them quilters, cooks, or crocheters, they make things as a way to pass time, to create gifts, to mark important life events. That is important.

What I started to weave into their work was the “WHY” of this work… the meaning of the choices they make as the make.

After this workshop, and from this point on, I have decided to encourage life long learning in all my arts events, workshops, and experiences. Living in a rural town, I know the demographic is likely to change over time, aging like most of rural America. Therefore, I see an opportunity to look at the wise men and women in my community as folks who aren’t done learning yet. They have stories to tell, wisdom to share, and trouble to stay out of ;) …

So why not learn a new art form?