I applaud any group that strongly encourages beginners. Today's beginner is tomorrow's expert, in turn drawing in new learners through their enthusiasm, and any hobby group I've seen that gets too "full of itself" and intimidates newcomers one day becomes a dwindling group of a few elderly "experts." Beginners are the lifeblood of any organization, they are the children who carry on, develop, improve the tradition due to their contributions.Whenever I have taught people a craft I do, like huichol beading, I have always been amazed at the results when someone ignores some aspect of my advice and goes off and adds their version. The beads in huichol work should have the holes facing top/bottom, I tell people. Someone misses that detail and makes a piece with the holes all facing sideways and I realize that this gives a kind of flow to the piece that is missing when the beads are all upright, as the edges are narrower. Any craft or technique where flexibility is allowed, where people aren't forced to adhere to "expert" advice, ends up with innovations that hold people's attention, attract newcomers, and push the craft forward.
"Forward" in this case means that there are new things to try, there is room for creativity. I have several boards on my Pinterest site that frustrate me because the only images I can find are of kits and everything looks quite the same. Shadow work embroidery fits into this category. This is why I have very few examples up there right now....nobody seems to be playing with it. One day someone will, and they will post their work somewhere and other people will feel inspired to try their own versions, come up with something new, etc. etc. This is what keeps a craft alive; otherwise it will become just a few expertly designed pieces, pretty but not too challenging, to be sold in kits and to gradually become passe because there are no innovations.
Ah, reviving my blog just so I can get on my high horse. There are worse reasons! I because lazy and posted only on Facebook, but I don't think my graphics posts are all that interesting to anyone but me. I have, indeed, mostly gotten out of the innovation phase and am more in the comfortable, let's experiment with some version of what we already do phase. I'm not sure if there is a cure for this, other than forging on to new crafts, but still I find it relaxing and, as always, the color and pattern combinations give me a thrill. What I miss is posting in detail and commenting on what techniques I used to get various results. Before all my new stuff becomes cold and lifeless, due to forgetting what I did, I need to go back to posting and explaining. For me and my 11 loyal blog followers. :-)
Without further ado, here is a jazzed up version of the back of a kiwi vine leaf, lit by sunshine on the other side, and what I did with it. Kiwi vines are not much for fall color in real life....they just fall off, still green, as the weather gets colder. Mine is still in the pot that I imagined it would grow in, but the pot is tipped sideways and the kiwi's roots have gone down into the soil below it. The vines are taught to scramble up the pepper tree above it. No strangling of nearby plants and everyone gets along just fine.