With Skills in Mind

11 06 2011

and given my last post: It’s in the DNA… I bring to you this public service announcement.

It’s a comprehensive list (and a cop-out on an…ahem… real blog article) of people and places that I’ve found useful in learning things.

1) Asking older people about something they are skilled in. I got the basics of braided rag rug making from my ex’s grandmother one spring afternoon, and the secret to a great homemade pie-crust from my step-grandmother. (The recipe for pie-crust I got straight out of the “Joy of Cooking”, a recipe book I think should be on everyone’s shelf. Find a copy for yourself here.

2) Online. I stumbled across this website one day trying to find information on making chain maille. And I’ve been back often, as it gives me a visual on how to do lots of nifty jewelry-type things. YouTube has some cool things if you either a) know what you’re looking for specifically, or b) have some time to search a wide area and see where the search takes you.

3) Schools that teach things to adults: The John Campbell Folk School is (where I learned basic blacksmithing and beginner silversmithing) The Pilchuck School is where I would go instantly if I won the lottery, and the Pittsburgh Glass Center is where I took a wonderful lampworking (aka making glass beads on a stick with lots of fire) class.

4) Local libraries: If you don’t know where your local library is, then find out. Do not pass “Go”, do not collect $200. Libraries (especially in the age of PDF’s, ePUB’s and other means of non-traditional borrowing) are vastly more accessible than they used to be. I request all sorts of weird (and obscure) books from the inter-library loan system through my computer, and only have to stop by in person when said books come in.

5) Project Gutenberg: Although this site is completely irrelevant to the subject of acquiring skills, it’s a cool darn site to catch up on the classics. I have trouble hacking through authors like Jane Austen in print, but they’re easy to get through in audio form. And then I feel all culturally enlightened for the day. After all, if the only culture you’re ingesting is in your morning yogurt, ya got issues. I’m just sayin’.

And on that note, I’ve said enough. Catch ya next time.

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