I am a great believer in gathering new skills. I remember when I saw an article on Africa and they were talking about educating children. The teacher spoke of the fact that you can take away their home, drive them from their country but the education and the skills that is theirs for life.
In my country we do not live in such dire situations but the basic outcome remains the same. Get what skills you can these are yours for life. As I have stated before I work on the philosophy that each dollar you earn is a little bit of yourself sold on so if you can do some stuff yourself then you reduce your dependence on the external world and the variegates that this can lead to.
Don’t get me wrong for some jobs you get the people in who know their stuff. When we took out a wall at our small house to make the living area liveable I worked as a labourer for a friend who was a builder. I learnt a lot and reuse those skills all the time, But some of it such as bridging a gap made by the removal of load bearing wall I would never try in this world. I pay and am happy to pay for the artisan skills that are artisan rather than ‘buy it in China’ and ‘stick it in’.
The skills for my job are pretty esoteric to be honest and have limited use outside of very small corporate circle almost to balance this out, outside of my job that I have focused in on skill that give me real world skills. Things such as growing food, preserving, basic building and repairing, cooking, brewing, foraging etc. I have also learned some basic masonry skills for making garden beds, paths, retaining walls etc.
What I have often failed to see is the value of artisan skills. Focusing instead in on the practical. A couple of weekends ago I did something different. A stone carving course and I would have to say I truly enjoyed it.
Working with such a medium as stone is slow and steady work even with the advantage of modern power tools. It is work were you have face, ear, breathing and eye protection and as such tends to isolate you to the medium and the work. The group I did the course with where very different, a female business owner, a caravan restorer, a retire and myself an IT geek and sometimes urban hippie. While it is not easy to be social At times when we needed a break we would all wander down and see what the others were doing. Everyone was positive.
The weekend went very quick in its own way and left me a good mind set both in regards to the learning of the skill and also forced me to look at the world through a different lens as I have discussed in a previous blog.
It has also given me a new set of skills to play with a different way to look at projects such as my bluestone retaining wall at the back.
A. has been looking at glass blowing course and I can only support her in this. Even if at the end of it she only comes out with something for the house and new set of skills then it will have been well worth it.
My advice to you all is to go and learn a new skill this year. You can only benefit from it.