It seems significant to me at least that a major part of my career up to now has focused upon the ideas of interaction within the archaeological / historical context. The ideas of how people interact with one another, and the transformative processes which occur to both individuals or social groups during those actions before re-entering society was a central part of my academic studies. (Admittedly my thesis focused rather closely on the role of alcohol in such processes, but the theories are still applicable to a wide range of situations!)
For the crafter, no matter their preference, there is a similar process. And the community, and our interactions with one another, whether online or in-person, has a massive impact on our development and understanding. We learn from one another, both directly and indirectly. We use patterns, follow tutorials, listen to podcasts, meet up socially, take classes, and talk on forums, in person, on Twitter, on Instagram… anywhere and everywhere really.
Our interactions with one another can, and do, impact on our own inclinations. Think about it – how often have we picked up on Twitter conversations, or a blogpost, or some other reference to a pattern, or an event, or a yarn, or something else, and followed the trail. Then shared that knowledge with others. These interactions, derived from communities of own choosing, shape the way we approach things. We’ll pick up on biases, issues and gossip. We may enter believing one thing, experience the process of learning from others, and find that these experiences have either confirmed our beliefs or changed them – however subtly.
From personal experience, I use these interactions and communities to gain knowledge, to get inspiration, to make new friends. I may not necessarily be the most active participant in a forum. I may only read the writings the others. But I can use this communal collection of ideas, knowledge and experience to advise and guide my own steps. And speaking from experience, it has.