Where Were You When I Needed the Basics, Part II

Earlier this year, construction began on my husband’s new woodworking studio.  While my husband (Dean) could have built the building himself, he knew that he wanted a crew of construction workers who were SKILLED in their area.  He hired “All Phase Construction” and was extremely pleased with their work… every bit of it.  The construction team worked as a team, BUT as a team they each had their own special role in the process.  Some of them were experts in putting up the walls, some were talented installing the rafters, some did cement work or framing, etc.  They were taught by specialists to be the best they could be, at whatever their role was.

Dean and I were especially blown away by the electrician.  He came to the site knowing ahead of time that the studs and rafters would all be in place… perfectly.  A great deal of precision was expected of the construction team, and they did not let him down.  “Jim” set to work drilling holes for the wiring, and began feeding the wiring through those holes.  When we showed up at the end of the day, we were blown away by the precision.  All of the holes for the wiring were lined up in perfectly straight lines.  The wiring went through the holes perfectly straight.  And I can’t express enough how precise they were!  I could stand at one corner of the shop and sight down the length of the building and not see any wire bending anywhere.  The level of precision this gentleman showed was just amazing.  “Jim” was an expertly skilled craftsman and we were happy to have him on the team.

As I mentioned earlier in this post, Dean is a woodworker.  He is a fifth-generation woodworker, a skill brought over from England and passed through his mother’s side of the family down to him.  While Dean took woodshop classes in high school, it was his family and his years of experience that taught him the most.  He has built and sold so many pieces of furniture and artwork through the past 40+ years that we have lost count. He has refinished museum-quality pieces and been asked to restore items that have been destroyed by fire and flood.  All of his knowledge took time to learn, practice, and improve upon.  It didn’t happen overnight.  

As with  any craft or skill, learning takes time.  You learn best by studying other craftsmen, watching what they do, asking lots of questions, and trying your best to put what you have learned into everything you do.

When I wrote the post previous to this one, “Where were you when I needed the basics? Part I,” I shared it in a Facebook group I started called “Celebrate Hand Quilting.  Sadly, it caused a typical “argument” among several quilters instead of having a meaningful conversation.  No matter what skill or task you undertake, you ALWAYS do your best when you learn as much as you can about that skill.  Consider a high school student wanting to be a lifeguard.  Do you want that student to learn the most and be the best he can be before watching your sweet grandchild swim in the pool or lake?  You betcha!   What about that fireman/firewoman?  Don’t they need to learn as much as they can before they rescue someone from a burning building?  How about the airline pilot who is responsible for getting you and your family from one side of the country to the other?  I would surely expect that pilot to have proper training and skills to be able to handle that plane from one airport to the other.  I would WANT that pilot to have the knowledge that “Sully” Sullenberger had when he brought down a plane in the Hudson River!  Knowledge and skills… practice and patience… no matter what you do, always try and do your best.  Always!  It’s perfectly alright to ask questions, to ask  the “why” and “how” when you just don’t know.

Quilters, we need to lose the phrase “Quilt Police.”  When someone shows you a different way to stitch something, just say “THANK YOU” and move along.  Think about it later.  You might just be blessed to have someone like Mary Schafer show you a better way.  There will always be know-it-alls  wherever you go.  If you can’t tune them out, then simply smile and say, “Sorry, I need to leave…”

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