Friday, February 23, 2007

Non scholae sed vitae discimus

I've been neglecting my knitting a bit lately. I've done a little with polymer clay, but mostly, I've been reading. It's actually the polymer clay that got me reading. Let me explain. When I want to learn how to do something, whether it be a language or craft, I have to know everything about it before I start. I'm not the type to take an immersion course in a language, but rather I have to learn from the building blocks up. I have to learn the part of speech, the endings, the words, I need to know quite a bit before I'll attempt to read or especially write the language. It's probably why I did much better in Latin than French. My French classes were all centered on speaking the language immediately. "My name is...", "I am ... years old", "How are you?", etc. I was never good at making sentences because I never learned the building blocks; I like seeing things in a systematic way on paper. When I took Latin, however, I guess because it's considered a "dead" language (though it's very much alive), it's not taught as an immersion course. You learn the parts of speech and how they work together. (Latin has also given me a better understanding of my own language.)

That brings me to crafting because although crafting is a creative endeavor, I learn a craft pretty much the same way. When I wanted to learn how to spin, I didn't just pick up a spindle or wheel and go at it. And I didn't take a class. I read books. I read all the books on the subject I could find. I had to know the "theory" behind it. I read about how the first spinners probably just rolled plant or animal fiber along their leg and discovered they could make a stronger fiber. They began to tame fiber animals because they realized they were a renewable clothing source. I had already read about how the Romans spun with spindles and dyed their own wool from a paper I did in college. I finally picked up a spindle and it seemed to come naturally to me. I bought a wheel which I put together myself because I had to know how it worked for myself. As for knitting, I've been spending the last couple of years doing lots of different projects so I can understand everything about the construction of knitting. I have a sweater in my mind that I would like to design and I think I finally am just about ready to do so. I have the building blocks, so now I can use my creativity.

So now, polymer clay has brought me to reading. I have tons of polymer clay books on how to make things and the things that fascinate me most are the miniature dolls. I love miniatures and I want to make more. So far, I've only made one. I dressed her in a Victorian Style and it's really the style I want to dress more dolls. So, I've been doing a bit of reading about the Victorian Era, a lot about the fashion of the time – I have books and books of the fashion plates of the time, but also about the time itself. It's probably the most fascinating period of history for me (and I love history). Granted, I probably wouldn't have cared to live in that time. I would probably have been one of the first to jump on Amelia Bloomer's bandwagon because those dresses must have been darned uncomfortable and cumbersome to wear. Yes, they are gorgeous, but I am really glad I only have to look. I just love the novels that come from Regency and Victorian England – the Brontës, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens are among my favorites, but I also like a few others. I don't know what it is about that time period. In some ways, it seems very romantic, but I know that's only a modern take because the coal dust alone in the city must have been horrible. Add to that the horse dropping and the fact that a very small percentage of the population were able to take real regular baths...

Yet, it's a time period that continues to fascinate people and I just need to know more about before I'll feel a need to make more dolls. Since I have nothing to show today, I thought I'd tell you what I've been doing with my time. And maybe soon, I'll have a few dolls to show off with my knitting.

Note to Wordpress bloggers, I've tried commenting on several people's blogs today and the comment has never shown up. When I try to repost, I get a duplicate comment message. I don't know whether it's me or WP because I don't seem to be having trouble with commenting on Blogger today. Anyway, it is driving me crazy because I don't know if some sort of comment moderation has been turned on or if my comments are just getting lost in the ethernet. Other people's comments seem to be showing up. If someone can explain via email, feel free!

--- Thanks for the explanation, Chris. Apparently, I've offended the WP gods somehow.



Blogger Opal said...

I think it's fascinating how people all learn a little differently from each other. So thanks for sharing!

8:58 AM  
Blogger skhpottery said...

I love playing with polymar clay for the colors, but I always get frusterated since it acts so differently from my real clay. Not that I can sculpt with either one.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

A-ha - I can answer the WP question! Your comment is going into moderation, so it doesn't show up until the blog owner approves it. Sometimes the spam management software randomly decides that someone is a spammer and their comment needs to be approved before appearing.

Try my blog and we can see how it goes.

I like to read a lot about new things, too. :)

11:33 AM  
Blogger maryse said...

the doll is beautiful. i used to think it would have been great to be able to wear all of the beautiful clothes -- period dramas are some of my favorite movies mostly because of the costumes. and then when you think about things like the smells, and the filth, ....ewwww

1:23 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Beautiful doll! I like to read a lot about my hobbies, too. For me, I think that comes from working as a scientist, where reading is as important as doing.

For fun Victorian era reading, I like the Amelia Peabody mysteries/adventures by Elizabeth Peters. She is a modern writer, but captures the period; and Amelia is a delight (who is quite a snappy dresser).

2:36 PM  
Anonymous JessaLu said...

Your comment went into moderation on my blog - you've been approved! ;o)

10:46 PM  

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