Monday, April 19, 2010

Making an effort

This blog is programmed to appear on line whilst I am away in Peru. I shall be checking whether it has worked when I get home!

One subject which is dear to my heart is self-learning or auto-didacticism. I have not had a formal art training, this never being an option for an average lass way back in the 1960's. At times I have regretted this, but mostly I consider this to be an advantage (I am sure I would have been a failure anyway because I dislike being told what to do in favour of my own concepts).

Over the years I have attended many individual workshops, and indeed taught many workshops (this gets one learning). I have been very selective in my choice of direction and returned to my own studio and put my slant on what has been seen/done.

I have always made a special effort to attend the many lectures and artists' talks that accompany exhibitions at art galleries and museum. I find these fascinating, the more so if the topic/art is not what I do, ie textiles.

To keep abreast of such events I am a member of the Friends of TheNewDowse, Expressions and Te Papa, all within my local region. Pataka also offers a great lecture programme. If you don't want to become a Friend of these institutions, they all bring out monthly programmes which are available on their websites, e-newsletters and handouts.

My events diary tells me I have been to six of these since the beginning of 2010. I always walk away inspired with what I have seen and heard. Sometimes I have not understood, or liked, a particular exhibition, and an artists' talk puts a new perspective on the work. Occasionally I can't be persuaded to like the work but at least I have a greater understanding.

Learning is our responsibility. Making that effort should become a matter of routine. The insights learnt can be very beneficial, as well as most enjoyable.

Try it!


  1. Hi Diana
    I hope your trip is going well! Aren't you clever programming your blog to come up while you are away?!
    I agree with you that learning is our responsibility, and I also think it is all the more exciting if self directed. As one who didnt really try until my mid 30s I now regret all that time wasted NOT learning when I could have.

  2. I was so surprised to find your blog post on my sideline today! Clever is right....that is definitely you! Hope you are having a marvelous time in Peru and come back energized and full of new ideas.
    I agree that it is important to continue to learn and seek new information in all areas. Being open minded is the key, isn't it?
    Take care Diana.


  3. Hi Diana,

    You are so right - no amount of 'teaching' makes a difference to a person unless they become their own teacher too. In Reading Recovery the criteria for successful Discontinuing of a child is that they are a "SELF-IMPROVING reader and writer" - that is one who gets better every time they work because they have developed a self-extending system, and take responsibility for their own learning. . .
    likewise we won't get far as textile artists until and unless we do the same.

    Enjoy your time away,

  4. Hi Diana,
    Was excited as always when I received the NZ Quilter in my letterbox here in Singapore, but was even more excited when I saw the article about your work! Congratulations. Hope you have a great time in Peru, no doubt there will be plenty of inspiration for your future work!