Keeping an Open Mind

Isn't it funny how things just seem to appear exactly when you need them!  This morning I opened my email and there was a blog I follow from one of my fiber mentors and teachers; Catherine Ellis.

I took a workshop from Catherine a few years ago in Asheville, and this is where I was first introduced and fell in love with Indigo. Over the years I have taken several other Indigo and Natural Dyeing workshops and the one thing I have learned  is to "always keep an open mind."

Having an open mind means to be willing to receive new and different ideas, It also means to be flexible and adaptive. This is important whenever taking a new class. This is the beauty of taking new classes and workshops. Not only do you take away what the instructor teaches, but you also learn and take away from your fellow students. 

One of the things I love about working with fibers is my fellowship with other fiber artists. I love how everyone is so willing to share their knowledge. There is no right way or wrong way of doing things. Everyone has their own technique and maybe just by listening and keeping an open mind we are able to find an easier way to accomplish our goal.

One of my goals in establishing the Aya Fiber DYEHOUSE, is to create a gathering place for South Florida Fiber Artists. A place where we can all come together and share techniques and learn new skills. I am constantly learning new skills and wanting to pass them on to other artists. I am constantly meeting new artists who know more than I do and I hope they will come teach at the DYEHOUSE.  

This week, I leave for a 2 week "fiber study" at Arrowmont with Amy Putsanu and I am so excited ! I love teaching at the DYEHOUSE, but I also love learning. I am always wanting to learn new techniques, not only to pass on to my students , but in order to take my own work to new levels. When I leave here on Saturday, I will take off my "teacher-hat" and open my mind to absorb all I can.

In order to keep up we must be open to new experiences and new ways of looking at things. If we limit ourselves to just what we already know and what we are comfortable with we will never grow. After all, it is always easier if you know the outcome. The very thought of failure can be frightening. Just remember, there are no mistakes- our failures are a necessary part of growing and taking our work where we want it to go.

Only with an open mind, can we unleash our creativity. At this point, we need to let go of our preconceived notions of what is needed and move outside our comfort zones.  Here is where we dream, where we bounce our ideas off one another. Together we come up with a few promising things to try. Playfulness is key. So is boldness. Oh, and passion, too.

Release preconceptions. Play. Be bold and passionate. And then?

Then we  come home to our own studio practices and actually test and practice our new learned ideas and skills. Most of our ideas will not produce the results we anticipated. We are in new territory. This is the hardest part.  This is when we have to face the facts and share what we have learned. This is when we adjust what we have learned and this is when we try again! This is when we combine the old skills with the new and this is when we grow!

I can't wait!