Let Them Be the Smart Fish

For week forty-seven in our fifty week challenge we were asked to decorate a bag. I instantly thought of decorating a paper bag for Christmas but that seemed too obvious. I hunted around my studio and found this ‘test’ canvas pen holder. We printed a Bronzino and a Red Snapper using Gyotaku techniques (the art of Japanese fish printing) to decorate the front and inside flaps. I then added the final part of the quote on the inside, one word per pen insert. For a test piece it turned out okay.

Learning is a process not an event. That means we have to be willing to accept and learn from the things we do not like about our outcomes. I used a new type of fabric pen and was not totally satisfied at their performance. So the lesson learned is that not all pens are what they are cracked up to be. I’l try them again on different fabric before I avoid that brand in the future. Trying new things and letting go of the things that bug us, instead of redoing the work until its perfect, is the way great skills are developed. It is said that you have to spend ten thousand hours on something before you have ‘mastered’ it…hhhmmm. I think I’m way past that timeline in terms of lettering, and yet I am in no way a master of it. Most of the time it masters me.

It is easier to give people things than to teach them how to do it themselves. It’s faster, it makes us feel important, it gives us power and control, which eventually means we are victims of our own lack of teaching. Eventually they keep coming, they need more, they want more and as we are the only course they suck up our time and drive us crazy…oh wait, but by not teaching them that was our intent wasn’t it? That quick, easy moment will prevent us from being able to learn anything new because we are spending all our time handing things to others.

Invest in teaching people, make them self sufficient, build them up until they are better and smarter than you. That way you get to move forward on other things and they get to teach others. They come up with new ideas and you get to be strategic instead of tactical. Remember learning is a process not an event, keep the process going for as long as they are willing to learn. The more they know the more you get time to do other things. Let them be the smart fish.

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