Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Soul Searching

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?

31 comments:

  1. When schedules are hectic it can be hard to think straight, and it sounds as if you have found some space to do some serious thinking and re-charge your creative batteries. I do hope it all goes well for you - I very much expect it will. Saying no to commitments can be hard, but it gets easier as the load lightens. Ask me how I know...

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  2. bit slow me. I had to read twice before I could join the dots.

    Sounds as if you have refreshing exciting times ahead. Keep us posted as you go ...

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  3. How exciting. The course sounds really interesting and a great way to help you see things afresh, it's hard to say no, but sometimes it's the best thing to do.

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  4. I wish you all of the very best for the future, whatever that may turn out to be. xx

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  5. I don't think you are on your own of reflecting on what you are currently doing and making the decision to change. I have several friends who have done that in recent years. Some who have been in nursing for 25-30 years suddenly taking on a whole new lifestyle and following their passions and dreams for something new. They all seem happy with their choice so I'm sure you will be too.

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  6. Well Gina it does sound like you are sorting things out and that's brilliant being discontented is not a good thing!!
    I wish you all the best for your future plans.
    V x

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  7. Good to see that you have signed up for the course and that it has already helped. I am still working through the things that it threw up for me. It is so easy to get lost in doing for the right and wrong reasons. Enjoy all that you discover.

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  8. Good luck with your new developments Gina - maybe freeing yourself up a little will enable your creativity to blossom even more and then who knows what you might achieve! x Jo

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  9. Wow -- wouldn't it be fantastic is we could somehow combine the needle with baking??? Good Luck with all of your decisions Gina -- you're so talented I know whatever you decide, it will be good!

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  10. Hoping the course helps you see things in a different light. Best wishes on whatever you decide to do.

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  11. Dear Gina, may I start with telling you how much I like the embroidery that has its start in plastic netting. Each of the pictured results are so intriguing, quite beautiful and to my eye quite opulent. Isn't it amazing to see how an idea can grow! Given time to let one's imagination travel a bit uninterrupted.

    And that brings me to wanting to say how much I do admire your decision making process. It seems to me that you are on to a very productive exploration. I can well imagine how your Guilds folks are delighted that you will still be teaching them.

    I am looking forward to learning more about how the coming months develop. xo

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  12. It's good to make changes every now and then or things can become stale and tedious. Good luck with whatever you decide to do next. Your C&G students will continue to keep you on your toes!

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  13. Well done, it definitely sounds like a decision has been made - and now you've committed it to paper (or Internet, which is bigger!) x

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  14. Aww bless you Gina. It is so hard when there are lots of things you enjoy doing, but not enough time to do them all. I know the feeling and I get tired too! I am so pleased you have made a decision, it sounds exciting and I am sure it will work out well for you. All the best!

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  15. I, for one, am now looking forward to seeing what you will do next. Good luck with it anyway.

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  16. If you enjoy it then digital teaching would be a perfect way to avoid all that packing and unpacking although I'm sure you'd miss the human interaction if you were to cut out 'real life' teaching completely. The embroidery you've shown is so beautiful, enough to make anyone want to take a course with you! It sounds like exciting times ahead. I love those times of epiphany!
    Jess x

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  17. Go with what you feel in your heart. Long walks help with the what next questions.

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  18. I know what you mean about teaching, the actual face-to-face stuff is great and always lots of fun but the behind the scenes stuff can be a killer. All the packing and travelling and time. I am excited to follow along with whatever happens next.

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  19. Beautiful pictures,the work you do and teach is amazing. Sounds like one of the difficulties you have is the constant transportation of equipment from place to place. If you wanted to carry on teaching, but not have the constant transportation and setting up could you hold classes somewhere, perhaps a rented room or studio, where you could both work and teach, and keep all your equipment together? It sounds like you really love teaching , and it would be a shame to stop altogether if a new path could be found. X

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  20. don't you just feel fab when you know the hard decision was the right one?

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  21. don't you just feel fab when you know the hard decision was the right one?

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  22. Go for it Gina. Never forget that you are the Captain of your Own ship. It's a good course. ;)

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  23. Who would have thought something so beautiful could be created from a net of lemons! One of the most difficult things in life is to make sustainable changes, deciding what has to go and what can stay. In all your posts I can see a deep love for your teaching and I understand how difficult it must be to take a step back. Yet something you love can get too much. I am wishing you luck Gina.
    Cxx

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  24. I totally understand how hard it was for you to come to your decision Gina. After years in education it can be hard to say no to requests. It has taken me 2 years to say the words, "Can I check my diary and get back to you later" rather than "Yes". That little bit of breathing space give me the opportunity to consider what I want to do. Going down the digital route sounds interesting and the time you save on packing,travelling and unpacking will give to more time to pursue your own interests. Good luck with your next venture.

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  25. Decisions like this are always hard to make, yet once they're made a kind of peace takes over, in my experience anyway. Good luck and enjoy!

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  26. We've probably all hit that point at some stage, where we know that we can't continue along the same path. Wishing you lots of luck, whichever direction you decide to travel.

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  27. I sense a real feeling of relief that the thoughts you've been carrying around in your head are now committed 'on paper' and are out here for all the word to see. Your rationale was thoughtfully explained and I'm with you every step of the way. I think the future sounds bright and full of promise. Taking the first step to change is often the hardest... and you've done that now. Way to go girl!

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  28. What beautiful creations your students have made under your tutelage. But what a relief for you to have finally taken the huge decision to step back and find a new direction. Good for you - now you just have to find a way to combine baking and embroidery - that would be a world shattering discovery! Good luck in the future.

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  29. Ironic really. I've read your latest blog posts back to front so just found this one. I haven't been able to keep up with my blog reading (or my own blog writing) because of seemingly endless work commitments and zero time for me. Everything you say resonates, but I'm at the other end of the swirling vortex of future commitments that I am obliged to meet despite a constant nagging uncertainty! And yes, I think digital is the answer to a lot if things, but will never top the buzz from teaching live - as you say, it's the prep and clear up that is so depressing. Very interested to see what your next step ends up being!

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  30. Sounds like you are having a big shake up, good luck with it all. Thank you for the link to Do what you Love for life I will take a look later. xx

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