Brain Science and Weaving as a Language

6 December 2011

Two concepts have been rolling around in my mind and interacting.  Abby Franquemont’s lecture on “If Weaving were Like Writing” and Charlie Rose’s Brain Series, the episode last night.

The Franquemonts( Ed, Christine, Abby) have open my eyes to the way that weaving is fundamental to the Andean cultures and  that they learn it as children; at two they are spinning and by five are weaving. If you watch them weave as an adult their fingers seem to do things faster than you can even count the threads. Magical fingers.  Weaving is a language that informs their whole way of living.

Last night at the end of the Charlie Rose program there was some discussion of extreme plasticity of toddlers’ brain: they are global learners and can learn any language by just exposure and practice; no vocabulary, no grammar.     Then there were some comments about violin players and how a large portion of their brain was dedicated to their fingering hand.  Professional players had a bigger area dedicated than dilettantes, and those who learned a children had an even bigger area of the brain dedicated to finger control.

So does learning to weave young, very young, take advantage of this plasticity of the brain and is a larger part of their brains developed  for finger control of the weaving?  Inquiring minds want to know.

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