What Rare Skill Do You Want to Learn?

I have my father and grandfather’s old telegraph keys. My father worked 35 years as a telegrapher for the Frisco Railroad and my grandfather did the same for 45 years. My dad’s bug is in great shape and all I would have to do is set up a sounder to get it going (he used an old Prince Albert tobacco tin at the depot). I’ve often thought I should have asked him to teach me, but alas, he’s gone now. What an amazing skill that seems to be disappearing.

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I was always interested in archaeology - 7-year-olds whose bedtime reading was Tales Mummies Tell are… odd, I’m sure. But as a vocation it has certain challenges, definitely.

I’ve helped with a late Archaic/Early Woodlands dig near the Patuxent River; daren’t be more specific than that. Personally I find that stuff the most fascinating, but you don’t get to pick your digs…

Right now I volunteer to do lab work and some digging in Alexandria, VA. That’s exclusively 18th and 19th century American. Which means the artifacts are in good shape and we can almost always characterize them - just last week I managed to identify the shop where a porcelain doll head we had found was made! - but honestly I don’t find it as engaging as the older stuff.

Hence wanting to learn flintknapping; train for the job you want, yes?

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Play the harp. I’ve been enamored by this instrument since I was a little girl. I tried taking lessons when I was in my 20s, but life sort of got in the way. I think it’s too late for me now…

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I would love to play the spoons. I watch videos of"Abby the spoon lady" on u-tube all the time! The other skill I’d like to learn is to drive a team of horses.

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Thank you for your reply hasufin !

I just looked up Paxutent river and people as I had never heard of it before , very interesting! Totally understand what you mean when you say the older artifacts are more engaging as I definitely share that enthusiasm.

I would like to do archeology mainly as a volunteer as my career is biology based , but hopefully I can get involved in that field in that capacity in Brazil in the future

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Due to my love of the old and fantasy I’d love to learn blacksmithing-particularly to be a swordsmith. I love the idea of it but also I’ve always enjoyed working with my hands and feeing the sense of accomplishment after I’ve built or worked on something. But I have no idea where to start and I’m concerned it would be cost prohibitive.

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I once met a Filipino man who kept award-winning Bonsai trees. He had the most remarkable garden as well as a basement with a small fish pond and more Bonsai plants. It’s a beautiful art form - I hope you consider pursuing it.

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I’ve seen a man play the spoons only once when I was a child and it was delightful. Hope you consider taking it up!

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The skill that I’ve been learning and continue to learn is that of building vintage paper models (but only from copies!) The models are very simple, but there are many ways they can be enhanced and reinforced.

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Those are incredible! how long does it take you to make them ?

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I agree. A lost art beautifully reproduced.
Wish you could do my profile one day.

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My great grandmother made bobbin lace and I have learned to do that. I also tat and do Scherenscnitte. I have done needlework as long as I can remember and my house is filled with stuff I have done.

I would really like to be able to read hieroglyphs, demotic script and other Egyptian writing. I study Egyptian mummies and so this would be a good thing for me.

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Me too! I had a 10 year old Tiger Bark ficus bonsai until last year when I turned the heat on but didn’t change my watering schedule. It got too dry and died. :neutral_face: I have a pretty good green thumb, but bonsai are so temperamental. I’ve been scared to get another one.

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I always wanted to learn Braille, Sign Language and Morse Code

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Something I’ve picked up in the past year is spinning. I’ve already loved everything textile and fabric and sewing, and I’ve experimented a lot with weaving. But right now, I spin wool into yarn with a hand held drop spindle. It’s relaxing and portable!

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Learning to play the surbahar (much like a larger version of the sitar, used to render Dhrupad) lead me on several incredible journeys to India. I spent several months in Uttarakhand learning (or at least trying to) the Hindi language so that I could read more about the oral tradition of Hindustani Classical Music. I then spent several months in Varanasi having a concert grade surbahar built and spent every work day observing the construction of this instrument. I played this instrument for about 8 years until a motorcycle accident damn near ripped my foot off (the foot is used to hold the base of this instrument while playing). Anyway, I had a great time peeling away the first layers of Indian culture and traveling around north India. Great country.
Now as my wife and I prepare to move to Asia after retirement in two years, I am learning Japanese as we plan on spending several months of each year in Japan when it is too hot to stay in my wife’s native country of Thailand. I am about 1/4 of the way through learning the Joyo Kanji at this point. The Anki flashcard app is my friend for about 1.5 hours every day. As I learned with the Hindi training, learning to read and write in the native script is just about as important as learning to speak.
I think I’ve already talked with a few people on this site about when I learned to cave dive back in the 90s. That is a pretty rare and exciting skill. At the time I learned, there were only a few thousand certified cave divers in the world. And I learned from on of the best, Lamar Hires.
Anyway, here’s a photo of me with the surbahar so that you can get a feel for what this instrument is.

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Glad you like them. The Lambretta took two afternoons. The other two were more like three afternoons each. They’re relatively simple paper models. The Lambretta is German and dates from the 1960s. The Stavkirk is Danish from the 1920s and the Shell station (it really existed) is from France from the 1930s. Modern paper models are much more complex.

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In an alternate reality somewhere, I am a successful anthropologic translator with a keen eye for heiroglyphics, ancient Sumerian and the like!
When I was 8 I had a good sized stack of books geared towards kids on various pictorial languages, codes and ciphers, and ancient mythology. I should have kept up with it!

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Was visiting an arts-related day at our state’s governor’s mansion when I stumbled across an artist doing an unusual process of creating clay monoprints, a technique combining aspects of pottery and printmaking.

After Googling it at home, I discovered that the originator and primary artist in this field lived ten minutes from my daughter, and offered workshops…

The “matrix” where the design is created is clay, and instead of paint or ink, pigment is added to clay to create the work. Very creative, abstract techniques.

And after 32 years of teaching music, I’m now a studio owner/artist doing clay monoprints!

(Visual Realia Studio - Home | Facebook)

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Wonderful skill!

The first one reminds me a great deal of Joan Miro , love that artists work !

The second one reminds me of the colour ambience of Francis Bacon’s “Screaming priest”

Keep being creative , brilliant work

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