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Home, sweet home…

I’m back home from teaching! It was lovely to be in Paderborn, and I really enjoyed the city in springtime – there was a blooming magnolia right in front of the place where I stayed, perfuming the air. I had glorious weather for the walks to the Uni and back, and for the evening strolls to and through the city centre. There’s lovely ice cream to be had in Paderborn, and in contrast to the south of Germany, the supermarkets are open until ten in the evening (they close at eight here).

The course I taught was two half days and two full days, and it was, as these things usually are, really interesting for me. I don’t know where I heard it, and it was ages ago, but I was once told that teaching something will lead to you really learning something – and I can say that this is actually true. Well, I don’t necessarily learn something more about the subject I’m teaching (though this happens as well, from time to time, as questions or approaches or Wild Things that Just Happened shed some light from a different angle on the subject, and suddenly you realise why this or that works this or that way, or doesn’t), but I always, always learn something about people. How they think. How they learn. How they look at structures, and movements, and techniques. That is, to me, endlessly and utterly fascinating, and there are so, so many different approaches and different personalities and different characteristics. It’s also endlessly and utterly satisfying to provide instructions and explanations in such a way that all the participants in the course get it, and can work the technique. (Not always easy, and sometimes it’s really, really hard or even impossible to find the right way of explaining. But when it works… it’s a true “Yes!” moment.)

One of my “Oh wow, that is interesting”-highlights from last week was one person who was essentially ambidextrous. Which is a wonderful and really helpful thing – unless your brain, as happened to her with one technique, keeps getting hooked on working the technique in the direction best suited for working with the left hand… but with the right hand.

I also realised how much I rely on looking at the structures of a textile, both for analysis (where you have no other possibility) and for teaching. I try to teach the moves necessary to make something together with an awareness of how they work, and why – which makes it easier to see what needs to be done next, and to find and correct mistakes.

Brains, I can tell you, are awesome. And fascinating. Especially when they are doing weird things!

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