My boxes of kits and patterns and teaching supplies have been shipped off to the Vermont Quilt Festival where I will be teaching next week. My quilt has also been shipped there for the Teacher Showcase. I am breathing easier and sleeping better these days now that the spaces between teaching trips are a little more reasonable in length and the dyeing of kits has ended for 2016. When I tell you that I dyed more than 500 meters of fabric within about a two month period, I truly do not mean to brag, even though it may appear to some that this is what I am doing. I am just astounded that I did it and survived it, and want folks to know that this IS the reality of being a teacher on the road. Some folks think it is an easy job and a glamorous one, but it is a lot of tough work.
I may have mentioned this before on my blog, but I was travelling home from a teaching trip a few weeks ago when I suddenly thought that I better pay attention to when Easter weekend is. Then I suddenly realized that Easter weekend had passed and that I had spent it in my dyeing dungeon, while my husband spent a chunk of it ironing fabric. The same thing happened on Victoria Day weekend, although by that time I had only about 20 meters left to dye.
I'll tell you another thing. In April I started dreaming about retirement. I even went so far as to have my pension numbers crunched. While that feeling has now passed, I think I need to heed what this dream means: I need to slow down because I don't want to miss my life!
Over the past year or two so many of the things I used to do have fallen away. I missed the deadline to submit work to the SAQA Portfolio. One of my art works has been in each yearly Portfolio since I became a SAQA member in 2007. I also missed the deadline to submit work for the Haliburton faculty show at Rail's End Gallery. I've participated in this show for the last seven years. I didn't get a one-foot square quilt made for the SAQA auction and I've been contributing to that for many years. I haven't entered any shows, and in fact I haven't turned my sewing machine on since January. I've begun to question all my memberships in organizations because I'm not in a place where I can contribute right now, nor in a place to partake of the benefits of membership. For the first time ever, I did not publish my quarterly newsletter this spring.
So I have come to the conclusion that I need some time away from teaching. I have turned down and am turning down any additional requests for teaching for Fall 2016. So this means that after my classes at Haliburton School of Art + Design at the end of July, I will only have two teaching commitments after August 1: 1) a week of teaching in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia (Cherry Tree Quilts retreat) at the end of September, and 2) a private one-day workshop in November. My 2017 schedule is filling up nicely, and in such a way that things are spaced out a bit more comfortablyI will begin dyeing kits in January 2017, if not before, to avoid the crunch I experienced this year. I'm still amazed at the popularity of kits, having never used one myself.
The fact is that it takes quiet time and contemplation to be creative again. I hope to get my mojo back this fall. Actually, I'm already starting to feel stirrings as I am less rushed right now than I have been in months, and ever so thankful that I am sleeping like a baby again :-))
Here's a little funny for you. A friend of mine says I dyed so much fabric this spring that I wore out my laundry sink! Yes, while mixing up dye fixative for the last 20 meters of fabric, the jug slipped out of my hands and landed spout-side-down in my laundry tub, tearing a hole in it! A plumber did a tremendous job of fixing it a few days later.
As I slow down and get more grounded, maybe I'll have more contemplative blog posts, rather than a running travelogue ;-)) My time away from teaching this summer/fall will be divided between time in the studio, vacation time, and professional/personal development. Stay tuned!