Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I read the following this morning in a book by Paulo Coelho:

"After a great deal of practice, we no longer think about all the necessary movements we must make; they become part of our existence. Before reaching that stage, however, you must practice and repeat. And if that's not enough, you must practice and repeat some more.

"Look at a skilled blacksmith working steel. To the untrained eye, he's merely repeating the same hammer blows, but anyone trained in the art of calligraphy knows that each time the blacksmith lifts the hammer and brings it down, the intensity of the blow is different. The hand repeats the same gesture, but as it approaches the metal, it understands that it must touch it with more or less force. It's the same thing with repetition: it may seem the same, but it's always different. The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you're doing. You become the letter, the ink, the paper, the word."

from The Witch of Portobello

I think the same thing applies to weaving tapestry, or at least it does for me. "The moment will come when you no longer need to think about what you're doing." Although those moments are still far between there are some times that I become aware that I've been weaving along for quite awhile without having to make conscious decisions about what to do next, with technique.

In a eulogy for my dear friend and mentor, Bob Owens (a potter), I described his hands as being "grace-filled; graceful" and I think that I was not only talking about Bob but about all who work with their hands in careful, educated, skillful, thoughtful ways.

1 comment:

  1. Tommye, What a great blog! It is a wonderful tool for sharing your works in progress. I am enjoyed watching the "black walnut" piece "grow." The black cats tapestry is beautiful--love the picture of it with the photo of Raymond near by.

    Your excerpts of text honoring the genius of skill speak to me because I think that is sometimes part of the torment for those who must teach and yet have reached the point of doing without thinking. It takes a special perspective and understanding of learning to be able to go back and break down the processes and make them accessible to the novice.

    Tuesday I have surgery on my shoulder (bone spur, bicep tendinitis, frozen shoulder syndrome, and shoulder impingement!!), so hopefully, I will be ready to approach the loom again in a month or so (and I am going to try to learn how to play the upright bass!).
    Thanks for the cooling pictures and sharing your activities--inspiring!!