Lifelong learning

Happy Fourth of July!.

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I had a very nice day today celebrating my country with neighbors, friends and family.

My husband and I attended two picnics and enjoyed the company of several different people, not all of them previously known to us. During one of the table conversations, someone was saying how his wife was already a professional in her field with two master degrees and was planning to continue her education into a different area.

Most at the table lauded her plan, but one person asked “ and what is she going to do with that?”

In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what someone is going to “do with” their learning. Learning and studying for it’s own sake is valuable to the enrichment, well being and humanity of a person. If you’ve learned something new and can “do something with it”~ Bonus!

Myself, I am always trying to learn new things. I get bored if I don’t. I’ve been trying to learn Spanish forever it seems, more fervently since our visits to Nicaragua, but I have a hell of a time retaining what I learn without being able to practise every day. Still it doesn’t keep me from trying.

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An area where I try to continue my learning almost constantly is in my artwork. I have done week long workshops at both Penland School of Crafts with Brian R. Jones in North Carolina and at Arrowmont School of Crafts with Jason Walker in Gatlinburg, TN.

Whenever available, I also take weekend workshops from practising potters to learn new techniques, such as the upcoming one that I am taking with Heesoo Lee. She creates beautiful porcelain work using slips, underglazes and glazes and illustrates her work in an ephemeral natural way. The Potters Exchange, a great group of potters, located in the Quakertown, Pa. area is bringing her in for the workshop and I just cannot wait!


I am looking forward to that workshop coming up this month in a big way, as I hope to expand my techniques for illustrating and paintings on my pottery.

I continue to progress in my painting in a natural, untrained way. While I love to look at other peoples work and dissect in my mind how certain effects might have been achieved, I have maintained my raw, folk art style by purposely avoiding classes and critiques which carry the possibility of someone else imposing their vision on my work.

That sounds like the antithesis of lifelong learning in the area of my painting perhaps, but I believe that learning does not only occur at the hands of another, or in books, or training videos, but in observation, experience and experimentation.