Like anyone who teaches, I’m aware of the steady stream of things that come out of my mouth, particularly in class. I talk alot. It’s part of the craft. You can’t teach anyone if you can’t get their attention. So you keep a stream of verbiage going on during demo to keep them focused on you. It helps if it’s funny. Few of us are really still Sesame Street watchers, but that 30 second attention span for learning efforts started there and is still where most people are. You have to keep the students with you.
And there are certain things that are really worth saying. You don’t always say them at the same time in a class, because you’re waiting for the context to say it in, but it should be said. I have a list of them. Actually in different books of mine I. have different lists covering the topics. They’re the things that should be said. They’re going to make things easier for students. Easier is good. If it’s technical stuff that will make their world work better, I make them say it with me. Childish? Well, of course! How grown up are you?All learning happens in that child’s space. We can be any age at any time. The child space is where we can try, play and work without being so desperately concerned about being good enough.
So I thought I’d share some of them outside of class. These are my Ellenism’s: the things that come out of my mouth in class.
One of my favorite ones is “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly”. Yep. You heard me right.
I always have an intake breath from someone in class on that. What did she say? What did she mean?
I don’t really mean that things shouldn’t be good. I mean we can suspend judgement on what is and isn’t good for an awfully long time. And that really good things happen for us in doing that. Most art history suspends that judgement for 50-100 years. Within that waiting spot, within that time of action without judgement, we can explore, try, succeed, retry, retreat, go forward, step back, and accomplish the things that come only in time with lots of repetition and odd trials.
If you are in love with your product, you’ll live your life in a series of disappointments. Either it will be the most wonderful thing in the world, and then you’ll have to be disappointed with all your less wonderful efforts, or it will not measure up to that one wonder. IF you are in love with your process, there are no judgements. One process gets you to another. That in itself is a huge win.
Everything you love is worth doing badly. Step by step forward and back you will find yourself doing it well simply because you’re doing it. Drop the judgement. Drop the fear. Simply do it and be amazed at how what you do ebbs, flows and changes into something wonderful in time.
Have I made enough dragonfly quilts? I can still imagine them dancing in a way I haven’t seen yet, over skies and waters unknown. Its worth doing. Badly or well. Simply because it’s worth doing.