Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mine, Mine, Mine!




Ut Oh!  Controversy!  Proceed with caution, there is an opinion ahead. 

My thoughts are mostly about "ownership" or perceived notions of "ownership" regarding beadweaving.  That should scare quite a few peeps away!  LOL

Having been online for almost 20 years now, joining in with groups, newsgroups, email lists, online forums, you name it - that have anything to do with beading, mostly because I LOVE beaders and hanging out with them, and sharing ideas and oohing and aahing over other peoples beautiful creations, I have also managed to hear 1000 times, “I learned to bead from my Grandmother, Mom, Aunt, etc.”. 

I did, too!  And then I learned more stitches from my SIL, and even more from the Native American folks in my area who shared their knowledge freely with me….because that’s what you do.  You share what you know with others.  Especially in beadweaving.  It is how skills have been passed down from one generation to the next.

In history, most arts and crafts or even artistic skills, such as lampworking from Italy, or the Matryoshka dolls from Russia, or German brewery, or Native American basketry, Brazilian Woodworking, Japanese Origami…. I could go on and on, had skills that were passed down from generation to generation.  Many times with no written documentation.  Each successive generation was just shown how to create something and many times they added their own unique style or even additions or simplifications to the completed work.  Sometimes they were closely guarded family or cottage secrets, but many times, in order for them to continue or flourish they were shared outside of the family.  In some cases it was to ensure the preservation of a technique, in other cases it was to ensure the industry did not die out.  And many times these skills were given freely to the most eager ones who wanted to learn. 

This is not to say that charging to teach shouldn’t happen.  Obviously I am not against that either as I do it myself, and as often as I can manage.  But I also try to share things freely as well.  I have an obligation to pass on what I was taught by some.  It was part of the condition of them sharing so freely with me that I would also share freely when asked.  I have an easy vehicle for that as I’ve owned a brick and mortar bead store for 28 years.  I cannot even begin to count the amount of times I’ve shown someone how to make a proper loop on a headpin, or how to keep their tension even in beadweaving, or how to get your knots secure on a strand of pearls, or what the proper thread path is for Peyote stitch….just because they came up to me and asked.  I also cannot express how fulfilling it is to me to be able to pass along what I was taught to another.    

And in thinking about what is, or in my “opinion” should be shared freely, it brings me right back to the impetus for the blog post.  Bead weaving stitches.  My personal opinion….they don’t belong to you!  Even if you “think” you came up with some unique thread path all on your very own, chances are you are sharing it with some other mind somewhere on this planet.  Now, the design you create with that stitch….all yours.  Any words or illustrations or images you may create in order to share or teach that to someone else….ALL YOURS!  But the course that the needle and thread are taking through those bead holes??  How would you ever have a way of knowing that it has not been done before?  I mean, it could have been a mistake I made just yesterday.  Or it could be something a Zulu tribesman is fine tuning right at this very moment, or it could be something a Pomo Indian perfected 100 years ago.  You don’t know.  I don’t know.  We have no way of ever truly knowing.  So let it go.  Stop with the Mine, Mine, Mine attitude about it.  It makes you look petty, and frankly rather selfish and snide as well. 

Do you ever see a knitter talking about a stitch being hers? A master tailor saying those fine crossed over stitches belong to him?  A fiber artist claiming stake to combing two fibers into a beautiful knot?  Heck no!  They are not vain enough to presume they’re the only living soul since the dawn of man to tie a freaking knot in some thread and you shouldn’t be either! 


I am not saying that every single one of us needs to share what we know freely.  I will say that I enjoy doing it as often as I can so maybe try it once in a while and see if it fills a space in your heart as well.  What I’m truly trying to say here is that if you let go you will be amazed at what comes your way.  If you share just a little you will gain more than you can possibly contain.  If you stop with the notion that something is Mine, Mine, Mine and realize that is pretty close to impossible and instead focus your energy and attention on what you can create with those thread paths, not only will your life be more peaceful but you will also have opened your mind to more knowledge than you can possibly imagine.
Let it go….it was never yours to begin with. 

With respect,
Happy Beading All! 

28 comments:

Annie Hesse said...

Right on Beki.....love you and your thoughts!
Annie H

Cynthia Newcomer Daniel said...

HURRAH!!!! I love you, Beki.

Annie Hesse said...

Love you and your thoughts on this! Right on!

Crimson Frog Designs by Kinga Nichols said...

Well said, well done. I love how you can say this with compassion and love, because it needs to be said that way, and I see too much of the finger pointing when it comes to what's "mine, mine, MINE!" I think this post defines what should be mine, and what is ours, and where is the border.

Sally Anderson said...

So well said, Beki. And showing others how to do something strengthens our own understanding of it.

Robbie said...

What a great post....

Linda Sinish said...

BRAVO! I so agree with you! 100%

Linda Sinish said...

Bravo! I agree with you 100%.

Cindy Holsclaw said...

Yep, stitches are for everyone!

Interestingly, a related topic, with similar lessons, came up just recently on a crochet blog that I read from time to time: http://www.freshstitches.com/why-sharing-helps-us-all-practicing-abundance.

flyingbeader said...

Amen sister...amen!

Lisa said...

You are absolutely awesome. So well said!

Lisa said...

So well said -- you are amazingly awesome!

VanBeads said...

I could not agree more! Very well written and stated, Beki!

NEDbeads said...

Beautifully put. Beautifully!!!!!!!!!!!!

Valorie said...

Absolutely! Well said! :)

NAAN POCEN said...

Gosh! I LIKE YOU; LOVE the way you think!!!

NAAN POCEN said...

Gosh I LIKE YOU; LOVE the way you think. Thank you for sharing :-)

KV said...

Well done!

KV said...

Well done!

Just Beady Jules said...

Right On, Sista!!!!

Kristen said...

Thank you Thank you Thank you!!! I feel the same way and even though I have only been in the beading community for 5 years I think to say you own a stitch is just wrong. I would love to share what I have learned. Thank you!!!

Norma Jean said...

Great post! Well stated!!!

Maria said...

Very well said.....and now back to beading.

Sunyoung Park said...

Excellent! I agree.

The Dixon Chick said...

You are so right, Beki. A stitch is a stitch. Just like in crochet. It's what you do with those stitches that is magical!

Cyn ~ The Wingedneedle said...

Well said my friend, well said! BRAVO!!!

kate mckinnon said...

I always say "Thread Paths Belong To The People!" and we made free videos of the ones we discovered on the CGB project- I couldn't agree with you more. Who could own a way of walking?

Laura said...

Delightfully and thoughtfully put.