PART ONE – THE BEGINNING
Over the years so many people have asked me at shows and demonstrations how did you learn to weave baskets? Did you have classes somewhere? Did you apprentice under someone? The simple less time consuming response to this usually is that I am self taught. However this is not true.
When at shows talking with hundreds of people everyday it is a much easier response than all that goes with I learned in a dream, requires a lengthy explanation, hundreds of times over per day.
Over the years it has been difficult for me to explain how I weave what I do, as upon meeting new people each year, you don’t know from what faith they are from or if they have faith at all, worried how people would view me after hearing the story, but through prayer while in quiet contemplation with God while weaving and caning I came to the realization that it does not matter. This is how it is and nothing in this world will ever change that.
See to get the full picture you have to start at the beginning as many of you know I was an Old Order Mennonite from my teenage years to my mid twenties. Something that some people may look back and and wish they had not done, however for me it will always be a life long cherished experience in both learning, knowledge and life.
It was through this time as I always had been a person to contemplate and search out the meaning of life and how and why we do the things the way we do. Life is an experience, to understand some things we need to experience them rather than just observe at a distance and think we know the meaning.
I loved the slower pace of life and it I believe in both basketry and seat weaving / chair caning, take more time with things or if you will have more patience with doing these things, also it helped me to pay much closer attention to detail,not to just rush through it to say I have finished product. More Pride in Craftsmanship.
Growing up I was always the kid that could be found by himself in the library looking through the encyclopedia or dictionary to find the meaning of things or of life, what makes us tick.
You could always find me in the flower beds / garden, nothing more relaxing in life than to work in the dirt and with living and growing plants. I loved horticulture, and still do to this day. I learned so much from working in the gardens with my grandmother, also learned so much from the countless hours spent sitting and listening to my Great Grandmother tell about life before the turn of the century and right after to the present day then 1978 she was born in1884.
I was not ever the one in school to have a boat load of friends, nor to run with them, always was a home body, always looking forward to going to my grandparents home a few blocks away,and on the way to and from school each day. This was my greatest Joy in life back then.
I learned how to cook and to can the things from the garden from my grandmother,when you look back at all of these things you see one common thread, a slower pace of life, more time to read, learn, and learn the art of listening to others.
I remember as a child our black and white TV ,that set up, on legs, and if you went where you were NEVER supposed to go (just ask me how I know this) to be spanked back then was not considered abuse, dis obeying your parents was wrong and followed by the above. now if you went behind the TV you would learn the secret! THERE ARE LIGHTS BACK THERE!!! in little tubes. (well worth the spanking I got to find the mystery of lights back there.
As a child on that same TV, we only got a couple channels back then, and one of the commercials on at that time, was at the time I believe from the United Negro College Fund,
“A Mind is A Terrible Thing To Waste” and this was so true , we are only here for one lifetime, we are here and we can either choose to exist in life or we can choose to learn all that we can about as many different things as we choose to. I will admit that I have absolutely NO desire to know about sports, just was NOT a secret key to living for me. That is just to illustrate one of many things I don’t wish to know about, however those things are overshadowed by the things that I do know about. (or aim to try to learn about)
I guess you could say in my young years I was a loner, I was a quiet child, however I did do a whole lot of thinking, and as I said above, you can learn a lot, by learning the art of listening to others.
Part 2 will explain how I learned to weave baskets, which will help those close around me to understand why I always seek times of peace and quiet and contemplation, On the other hand I feel I am very much a people person as well, I love to demonstrate, teach, and explain my “process” to people so that they can understand weaving as well.