Editorial: Follow your dreams


And they say that we learn more easily when we are young. I say that’s nonsense. Jean-Claude, to whom I owe the inspiration for this editorial, is learning to be a professional basket weaver at the age of 59!

At an age when most of us are afraid for our futures, at an age when many of us are ready to slow down, our friend is launching himself into a new way of life. A life where he can blossom… Finally.

One only needs to see the “joie de vivre” of our new young professional as he moves about his workshop, to understand that the old saw “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is not always true. Yes, it is true young children can learn quickly. Take language for example. A young child, if they have parents from different countries, is capable of learning both parents’ language without any apparent effort. Yet I, for my part, spent 7 long years in the schoolroom trying to learn English without any discernable result! I am still incapable of holding a conversation in the language of Shakespeare and I know I am not the only one.

Being part of that same generation as our friend Jean-Claude, those fifty to sixty somethings not yet old but no longer young, I can still remember those “best days of our lives” and regret perhaps the time we wasted. Long hours wishing we were elsewhere, beyond the confines of the schoolroom. Long hours doing nothing, dreaming in our beds. The long hours we wasted, because we were young and not in a hurry, because many of us were not very motivated, because the future was a long way away.

Jean-Claude the newly fledged basket maker, with his maturity is still able to learn and he has found that learning can be easier than when he was young. With age comes experience and the motivation to try something new. Perhaps we can also see that school, with its desks and books, is not the only form of learning. That the dry recital of memorised facts is not the only knowledge. That experience, that touch and the feel of things, are also types of wisdom. Coluche, a famous French comedian, said that school was the doorway to unemployment. That’s an extreme view perhaps, but not all we learn in class will be useful to us in life. There are many other types of learning, some of which only come with time.

So, what say we take the youngsters from in front of their screens, from behind their desks even. What say, we teach them how to make a basket, how to work with their hands, with their eyes and with their hearts. Because if you are never too old to learn a new trick, you are never too young either.

If you want to pass on your knowledge and experience to a new generation, maybe now you have the time and more importantly perhaps the desire. What you know is unique and is the result of a lifetime of experiences. No one can be taught the feel of willow in their hands. You just need to take it up… And be shown how. If you want to be a weaver it is up to you and you alone. Of course it won’t happen all on its own and sometimes it won’t happen at all, but we can all, young and old, be inspired by Jean-Claude the basket maker, because in each of us there is a delight in creation, a pleasure in adding to this world, a desire perhaps, to follow a dream…

Bernard Bertrand

“Follow your dreams” : Editorial LLC Winter 2015. Le Lien créatif is the premiere anglo-francophone basketry magazine.