I don't particularly relish the thought of a weekend away working but whenever I have a weekend teaching at Missenden Abbey it is always an enjoyable time.
The grounds and the building alone are so beautiful, especially on a bright, frosty morning like today I can't think of a more lovely place to be, even if it is work.
And there is also that certain thrill of not having to be responsible for dog walking, chicken tending or family meals etc for a full 48 hours. It's quite liberating only to be responsible for oneself, if only for a brief spell..
Although I do feel a responsibility to my students.
I only had a small group this weekend. Six students each with their own individual expectations of what the weekend would deliver.
... which doesn't always match my ideas of what I plan to deliver! But I relish the challenge.
There is often some juggling and impromptu demonstrations but in the end I always hope that everyone in the class goes away with some of their expectations met.
Six beginners were trying their hand at free machine embroidery. Laying down strips of fabric onto a backing fabric and stitching into the surface to create new colourful fabrics.
I had brought in some of the petal bags I made a few weeks ago (from Jenny Rolfe's book) as samples and some of the students turned their fabrics into their own petal bags. Whilst others came up with their own designs. (The foiling was one of the impromptu demonstrations!)
But when I hear a student exclaim "I'm so excited I can't even speak" on mastering a technique I think I have succeeded in delivering at least one person's expectations.
Like so many adult education centres, Missenden Abbey has gone through challenging times recently with dropping student numbers and necessary cutbacks in service but I still believe it offers a great learning experience in the most glorious surroundings. And with new management and some exciting new changes planned I think things can only get better and better. And I'm certainly still willing to give up my weekends to work there. Although it is good to be home in front of the fire with a glass of wine this evening!