I’ve never been one to read the manual or even listen to directions well. This doesn’t make things easy in my school and work-based life. It used to exasperate the nuns in my grade school and it’s still something I need to be careful with around clients, for obvious reasons. Part of this is my own impatience to get on with it – I’ll charge ahead and try to figure something out, even if all I know is just “enough to be dangerous”. But if I am taught something that involves using my hands, even on the computer, I tend to remember how to do a task. I know that I learn and retain more through direct experience than through other modes. Not to say I don’t love to read a book, watch a movie, or listen to a performance or presentation. I just feel a deeper sense of understanding when I have experienced the “how” of a learning process as opposed to the “what”, and I’m sometimes willing to take the chance of doing it wrong the first time to try to figure something out.
I also find that doing something with my hands, making or fixing something, can provide space in my head for ideas to emerge. I once developed a successful concept for a logo while cooking dinner for my family. Ideas seem to be more cogent when I’m moving, walking from one place to another, or in the process of doing something else.
I loved reading Anna and Alex’s posts about hands and about a “conversation” between the materials and the artist. The materials, and the response of the materials and tools to how they are used, are key to the learning I seem to do best.