The pictures will probably appear to have nothing to do with the words in this post but I promise it will all make sense by the time you get to the end... assuming you get that far.
I mentioned in my last post there has been some soul searching going on. In truth is has been going on for quite some time, on and off for years as some of my poor friends will tell you, but it has reached a climax over the past few weeks.
For a while I have been feeling a certain amount of discontent. It comes and it goes and just when I think I've sorted it all out, it rears its head again. I'm mostly fairly happy, cheerful and easy going. I'm easily pleased and my needs are few and simple... yet for a long time something has felt out of kilter. And I know it has to do with work.
But I couldn't quite fathom exactly what was wrong... I love machine embroidery, I quite like making things to sell and I really do love teaching. Encouraging others to learn a new skill, the interaction with students, passing on knowledge... I've done it one way or another for most of my working life. And I hope it doesn't sound immodest to say I think I'm quite good at it most of the time. It's both fun and satisfying.
But recently I've felt my enthusiasm for teaching waning. The constant packing and unpacking of bags, lugging them and a sewing machine in and out of the car, driving miles, constantly making samples rather than making work for me, the endless mess... it is making me tired. I still love that interaction in the classroom but all the other stuff that is dragging me down.
But I've held back from cutting back my teaching hours because if I'm not teaching then what else would I do? I know I would miss the interaction. I've often thought I'd like to find a way to combine my other love - baking - with sewing but because I couldn't think how to do that I've not done anything. And the discontent continues.
But a combination of recent events have forced me to rethink. I reaslised with another birthday approaching soon if I don't do something to change my situation now I probably never will. So I've signed up to a course called Do What You Love for Life... and already only one week in I'm starting to look at things with different eyes... And I feel it's okay to make changes even if I don't know what else I might do or where it might lead.
Then this week I was forced into a situation where I needed to consider the future of a group that I have mentored for several years. It has been a really difficult and sad decision but I have decided that staying with Spectrum is no longer a viable option for me. But in doing that, It has made me realise that ultimately I would like to step back from all my teaching commitments.
Before I get inudated with emails from current students, (or Missenden Abbey adult learning!) I have no intention of giving up my City and Guilds teaching any time soon... current students and those signed up for forthcoming courses need not panic! But I have decided not to take on anything new for Guilds etc. I will obviously work all those dates I have booked over the next couple of years but after that... who knows... it almost feels like a beginning of an adventure.
And what has all this got to do with the photos... well not a lot really, except on Saturday I was teaching at the Cambridge Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild where I really did have a lovely day. Nine friendly ladies who enthusiastically learned how to turn the plastic net bags that contain fruit, into stylish little book jackets. And when I put photos onto my Facebook page there were several requests for a tutorial. So today I have been busy writing, editing and adding to a workshop that I originally wrote for Workshop on the Web and it is now available in my Etsy shop. Instructions include how to make the fabric, how to turn it into a book jacket, or how to make it into a little flower brooch. But if you want to make the bodice you'll have to work that out for yourself!
Maybe the future will be digital teaching... who knows?