Sunday, October 31, 2010

What is Mastery?

Our gallery has six blog editors and we each take a month to do the blog. Today is the end of my month and I hope you enjoyed the posts on weaving. I’ll leave you with one final thought – what is a master craftsperson (for the time, ignoring what I think is a bogus distinction between the terms “artist” and “craftsperson”)?

Back in the 1950’s there was a wonderful weaving newsletter published called the Master Weaver. One of the interesting essays in that newsletter was about what makes a master weaver. If you’re not a weaver, substitute your (art or craft) below.

It is quite thought provoking. I think most of us think a master weaver is someone who has a broad knowledge of the entire spectrum of the craft of weaving. Zielinski, the author, argues otherwise. He says that a master weaver is someone who specializes in one branch of weaving, sometimes using only one type of yarn and a very limited number of weave structures. His claim is that it takes a long time, sometimes years, to become intimately familiar with all aspects of a weave structure and that it is hopeless to know “all about weaving.” To quote from his last paragraph: “In my opinion everybody who knows his line of weaving is a master. If you know just one thing so well that you do not fear competition in this particular field, you are a master. If you know all the patterns of the Colonial period, ..., even if you never heard about honeysuckle – you are still a master. A master in your own line.”

See you in May – Larry

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