Learning Stuff You Don’t Think You Need







Recently, I learned a new skill. I learned how to sew. I had taken a crafts class a couple of years ago as part of my teacher’s prep and learned the basics. Then I went to an expert (AKA mom) and learned more. This hippo, was my first little project I did on my own.

I think it’s important for artists to learn new skills and learn skills they think they won’t need. It’s important to look at other artists work, that aren’t in your field. It’s important to look at people’s work who is better than yours IN your field.

I can’t count how many times I used a skill from my construction (once everyday work) to make a piece of art. Learning how to saw and build properly has been useful. You never can tell when new skills come in handy. It’s true of unrelated skills too.

For no reason many years ago I studied photography. For quite some time. I learned how to do this: one of my early photos, The Pear…









Seriously, I spent time learning about lenses and shutter speeds and film. And darkrooms and chemicals and tidyness in darkrooms. (pre-Photoshop people!)

And even though I didn’t stay in photography. I thought about it a lot. It affected how I did my work after learning about it. It taught me how to do composition in artwork. I learned about light and contrast and framing.

Learning stuff you don’t think you need to know often comes in handy. It gives you ideas. Learning how to have fun and do frivolous art is important too. I took this photo when I got hold of this large pencil.

Now it might combine with some of my other new skills and my tried and true skills and lead to another project. Of which I will say little about. The cool thing is that it comes from a collaboration of a friend who is like me. Learning new things, stealing peeks at other artists work, alchemically changing ideas inspired by those glimpses into ideas and projects of your own. That’s how art works.

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