Yesterday, I was teasing Lisa about straying from her comfort zone during the bookbinding/stamp carving class. Lisa has a full-time job outside of Craftstitute, so doesn't have a lot of spare time to spend on a wide variety of crafting. She sticks with knitting and crocheting, racking up an impressive number of finished objects. But somehow she found herself participating in Maude's Sunday afternoon class - maybe it was the company or the potential of making little books.
Seated next to her teenaged son, who demonstrated a deft hand with carving stamps, she folded and stitched and carved, remarking that she could totally see the appeal of creating your own stamps. Forgetting for the three hours that she doesn't consider herself "the crafty one," she displayed her usual degree of competence and skill in learning a new craft.
It's funny how we allow ourselves to pigeon hole our abilities, creating a comfort zone in which we operate most of the time.
When I worked at the yarn store, customers would ask me to help with changing the measurements of a pattern, which requires basic math, and my comfort zone would shrink to the size of a dime. I would teeter on the edge of panic. If I did this for myself and messed up, it would be no big deal. I love to knit and consider most mistakes educational in some way - ask me sometime about the litany of rookie errors that I endlessly repeat. But for a customer with limited time to knit? Cue the hyperventilating.
One of the things I love about learning a new skill, especially in a class setting, is that I don't have to figure it all out at once. There are steps and tools and a process that is orderly and sensible that ideally leads to a finished project. My comfort zone grows organically within the structure of the class. That doesn't mean that I don't love the willy nilly nature of learning something I've seen at that Place of Lost Hours. Where you gather all the stuff and hope for an outcome that somewhat resembles the initial pin? Have you seen the website Pinterest Fail? Oh my, prepare to lose yourself - tiny pots of lip balm vs. tins of festering wounds? One person decided that she was too craft-challenged for even the deceptively simple glue yarn ball.
What is life without challenging ourselves and stretching our comfort zone? Who knows what you might discover. At the worst, you might find that you don't care to explore those particular boundaries, but there is also the possibility that you might uncover a passion to master a skill you never knew you hankered to learn. If you had told me that I would be asking for a pasta attachment for my mixer as a birthday gift before I learned how to make homemade ravioli.... Let's just say that was far far outside my comfort zone.