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Critical Mass in the Learning Process


Before / After

It has been a long time since I endeavored to learn a new creative process. Or even had a moment to indulge my creative side. A Masters in Accounting, starting the new business – Brass Tax Services – and a beautiful relationship that still feels fresh after almost two years of marriage, left no space or interest in my brain for such things. But that changed last May

With the exception of blogging, all my creative interests have had to do with color. Quilting was my go-to for years. So many beautiful fabrics! A good quilt shop was mesmerizing. But my new life with my husband wouldn’t support this avocation. We live minimally, and quilting takes up an incredible amount of space with tubs of fabric, a sewing machine, cutting boards. Not a good fit for our 578 square foot condo.

The quest for a new way to get my color fix brought me to learning how to create jewelry. This bit of whimsy takes up far less room. When I started I knew nothing. Internet articles and YouTube proved to be great teachers for the basics.

And so for a year I’ve been plodding along handcrafting bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and anklets. With the exception of a few memory wire bracelets, nothing really left me feeling totally satisfied. Yes, my creations were respectable – made well enough, and looked nice – but my endeavors were generally not hitting the mark for me. I was left with this mild sense of dissatisfaction.

Then all of a sudden I began making pieces that honestly felt right. Unique as opposed to a piece you could pick up at Wal-Mart or Target. And attractive. This happened for the first time last week. It was as if my brain had finally reached critical mass in understanding and all of the jewelry articles I’d read, the numerous creations of others I’d studied, and the practice I’d been doing all came together. Finally!

Alas, that makes me want to redo or remove nearly every piece in my Etsy shop. Slowly, I am doing just that. The pieces shown in the photo at the top of this article shows exactly what I mean. One pretty, but simple. The other interesting and unique. Ah well, it’s all part of the process, right?

Looking back to childhood and being a young adult, I can now recognize occasions when the same thing occurred – that critical mass in understanding came on abruptly. It’s a nice feeling. More importantly, this is a lesson I can take into the future. I’ve always wanted to play the guitar, but quickly find myself demoralized and frustrated. Maybe I need to give it a year rather than a few weeks?

Have a Question or Comment?

6 comments on “Critical Mass in the Learning Process

I heard once that creative work, muscle memory and habituation of new tasks is difficult and requires 21 weeks of consistent work to succeed. Good luck with guitar lessons if you decide to go back to learning how to play:)

Reply

Thank you! Hopefully, this coming summer.

Reply
Stephanie Jay

Your jewelry is beautiful! I hope your guitar playing goes well over a longer time period x

http://iamstephaniejay.co.uk

Reply

Thank you so much! If I can get the two upcoming tests out of the way, I hope I can give some attention to the guitar.

Reply
joymcd305716439

Your jewelry is just lovely! And yes, beads and findings do take up less space than quilting!!! I have managed to squeeze a fair bit into our tiny apartment, but I would never be able to fit in everything that is back “home” in storage!!!! xx

Reply

Thank you so much! It’s a continual learning process!

Reply

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