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Category: Women of Wisdom

The Beginner and the Master

August 29, 2022

I love to learn. I have always had a desire to know and experience and do. Some things are more interesting than others, of course, but if I have a friend who does something, I am more likely to want to do it than if I am on my own. 

When I lived near a friend who taught scrapbooking, I went to her class, I made some beautiful scrapbook pages, and I bought some essential scrapbooking supplies and tools. When we moved, I packed the scrapbooks, pages (some complete and some in progress), tools, and supplies into boxes. It has been years since I completed a scrapbook page. I still have incomplete pages and pictures waiting to be moved from boxes to books that can be enjoyed. 

When I lived near friends who crocheted, I learned from them how to crochet and enjoyed the time spent chatting while we created blankets and scarves and washcloths and hotpads to use and give away. I bought the necessary supplies and tools. We moved away from those friends, and I have packed away unfinished projects. It has been years since I have completed a crochet project. 

One of the places I have lived had a community art program with a pottery studio that was available to use for a very small fee. I took a pottery class from a talented friend. It was exciting to see my projects get better as my understanding and skill grew. My friend who taught the class told me about spending time watching videos of other potters and the effort she put into learning her craft and learning new techniques. She encouraged me to do these things to learn as well, but after the class ended, I didn’t make the time to create and learn on my own, and moved away shortly thereafter. I still look at my heavy bottomed bowls and imperfect little cup with happiness that comes from creating something, but I would have to sign up as a beginner if I ever wanted to learn about making pottery again.

Maybe my problem is that I don’t stay focused on any one thing and become a poor “Jack of all trades, master of none,” or I’m really more interested in the time spent with friends, or maybe it’s the newness of something that entices me, or maybe it is just that the opportunities I have had have changed with where I lived. Maybe someday I will unpack and finish those projects or start and complete new ones with the skills that I have retained. I am thankful for the friends who have taught and inspired me. 

I have learned some skills for creating and about some tricks and tools for the different crafts, but I have also learned some things that are applicable to being a life-long learner: 

  • It is important to be open to learning new things, because you never know what you’ll love until you do it.
  • It is always more fun to learn with friends. If you have a hobby or talent you enjoy, offer to teach a friend. If you see your friend is talented in something you want to learn, ask if they’ll teach you.
  • Take advantage of learning opportunities where you live. 
  • The difference between being a beginner and a master is time and commitment. If you really love something and want to be better at it, you have to prioritize it, invest your time, learn from others with experience, and try new things.