Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Collaboration: Four Seasons Group

When Meg and I were a couple of years old Mom took up a new hobby: weaving. For someone like my mother it's the perfect mix of art and craft, design and follow-through, creativity and calculation. So after more than 30 years of practice, she's naturally developed considerable skill. And produced a lot of good stuff, too!

But much of that skill comes from deliberately placing herself in positions where she can share ideas with others, experiment with techniques, and learn from other weavers. She takes workshops. She attends conferences. She goes to several guild meetings a month. And while she doesn't often put her work up for sale, she does enter it in the county fair (and keeps the hardest judge on the textile circuit in mind when she's working on a project that might have a chance at winning).

At Christmas I noticed a postcard on the fridge. It read:
Four Seasons Group - January Meeting

Bring your current items for show and tell, but also, as we face New Year's resolutions, bring any of your 'dogs on the loom' projects, i.e., failures, disappointments, unfinished misery, etc. and we'll share those as well - perhaps with new insight.
As the "four seasons" reference implies, they meet four times a year - once per season.

Weaving is often a solitary pursuit, and most weavers wouldn't have a spouse, parent, child, or neighbor at hand who would know enough about it to really offer educated feedback on their weaving projects. Bringing them to other weavers would be key.

And wouldn't it work for many other things? Personal growth plans, business ideas, new ministry wrinkles, articles, seminars - bring them into a safe, collaborative space and have a bit of show and tell. I think a "four seasons group" is a brilliant idea.

Even to just bring one half-baked idea to others you trust and ask, "what do you think?" can add a whole level of development. Especially if you ask, "What would make this better?" "What could keep this from working?" or "Who do you think would be interested in this?"

Better yet to bring half a dozen ideas, try them out on a variety of people, and see what makes other people's eyes light up.

Paul - one of my regular visitors here at Telling Secrets - is flying to the Midwest in April for to join a few of the friends he's made online for just such a gathering.

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