So, obviously after a week of historic nerd camp I got to be involved in a lot of sitting and crafting sessions.
I also got to hear a few oft repeated phrases and with my “detective” hat on I have started to ponder ways in which we inadvertently discourage someone from their passion.
So the one that perhaps was most pertinent to me was “it’s an SCA event of course people are sewing.”
Well… yes? Because our craft and art is sewing so we.. do.. it.. at.. events..”
But what was implied was that sewing at events is all about last minute prep. It’s a means to an end, not something some people actually enjoy and also learn from.
I mean sure a lot of my sewing was finishing work. But it’s also something I planned for and had sorted by type of work so that I could just sit and sew and also hold conversations because the kind of sewing is what I can do while chatting. And that the stuff that required too much space I was able to do while.. not very well.
Most of my sewing is now practiced under some specific conditions. I have to have several hours of TV I can listen to. Not watch, but listen to. Mostly that means something I have enjoyed before so that I can use it as both a time management system and something I still use to engage different parts of my brain. But it also means some other parts of my brain calm the fork down which allows for that different kind of processing.
The other wasn’t so much at the event but some general advice to frame criticism in a way that it is bookended with compliments.
I can’t do that. It means an artificial balance that may not reflect reality but also if it is expected then those who will hear criticism will hear that as being SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THAN THESE TWO NICE THINGS! And those who don’t hear criticism will not maybe respond to a hint.
That said, I choose positivity. Always.
I am very far along my journey of expressing myself through my craft and art. A long way. It means I have a pretty good buffer against deliberately cruel comments, a reasonable buffer against unintended negative comments, and yet I still do struggle with them.
So I never ever tell anyone what to do. I ask, repeatedly, “what do you want?”
Because that changes. Sometimes very slowly sometimes you find something that gives you a boost, sometimes you’ll get an amazing revelation that means you leap frog over the time you think you were going to need.
But what we want should be what drives what we do. We do have needs to take into consideration, but when it comes to the thing that gives you joy I think you can be a bit selfish here.
If you are really happy with what you do, why change? It has to be because you want to change.
Me? I have found my role as investigator and constant “but why?” questioner. Every single fact I know gets inspected. Even the things I like and am comfortable with.
I basically apply the scientific principles of testing until I get through the noise, get reproducible results and if I don’t then I act as if I have unlimited funding and no conflicts and yes, prove my theory wrong.
Right now I have been able to properly review the information I was not able to access easily on site at nerd camp. And I have tried breaking my theory, and I keep coming back to the fact that it is a better fit.
But as I am not a peer reviewed scientist or historian I have a heck of a lot more work to do to show my methods, and also present it in a way that allows future investigators to test and prove my theory right or wrong. Right now I just need a little confirmation. The Moritz gown I am now 99.9% certain has the velvet cut on the bias. But I’d love to be able to go there and, with supervision, get the photos every few cm needed to prove the grain does what it seems to do. It will need a lot of processing power to do what I think is needed to prove that this is the actual cutting versus what could be shallow curves. But I do think the visual evidence is compelling as it is.
I never give critical feedback in the form people expect. I ask questions. And I do not expect answers immediately. The point of asking questions is that the other person can find out what they want, and what they don’t know what they want.
My very best teachers inspired curiosity, they encouraged absorbing all the information I could, understanding and recognising the work of the (usually) scientists who had gone before but to have room for questioning for when I had a wider and deeper understanding of our current knowledge.
The teachers who pre-determined what I was failing in generally were not very good at giving feedback anyway. So even if they took up the “say something positive, then negative, then positive again” would have made the positive seem patroning.
So here are my general but heartfelt, and backed up with experience, good points” you are actually making” or “does it make you proud, because it should; this didn’t exist, now it does, because of you” “okay it sucks to not be able to physically make the things, but you are thinking about them, amd we as people, as humans, grow because of people who consider possibilities.”
I do not give advice but I do try to offer connections. I try to have a backlog of information that seems appropriate to what it is someone else wants to do.
I do need people to come back to me to ask for those links as I do still have imposter syndrome and that manifests as “why would they remember me?” “and but what if they are busy?”
So. Trying to be better at that.