Find your tribe

I am just now relaxing from back to back weekend long retreats with a tall glass of wine. It is the season to gather in like minded groups to share interests and friendships. My first retreat was with my quilt guild of ladies who are good friends. I do have a core group of best buddies in this group but also like minded friends who support and encourage each other in a very positive way. 

It is fun to be around such people, to give them encouragement as well as accept their encouragement. I accept each as they are without judgement but it is easy when you find that is given as well. 

This last weekend the retreat was with a group of very talented fiber artists. It always inspires me to meet with this group of creative people. Mostly because fiber can be so many different things. Paper making, wool felting, fabric collage, sculptures from  weaving, whatever inspires you that can be connected to fiber in one way or another. 

This group is also my tribe. They are artists one and all, so that makes it a given for me. Yet it is more than a group of artists getting together. We are all more than happy to share a technique, style or method. As such I was honored to be asked to teach a 4 hour workshop on embroidery. Thank you Charlene Fullerton. Especially considering I had never taught a workshop before this conference. 

As I decided what to teach I chose  to teach my basic stitches that I use in my artwork. They tell writers to write what you know. I knew from my technical teaching in my full time work you are most effective teaching adults what is second nature to yourself. 

I picked 5 stitches I know by heart, prepped with a written and illustrated handout of those stitches and gathered the materials and tools to teach those stitches. My previous teaching kept me from getting too nervous. However this was the first time I would teach to such a talented group of fellow artists. Add the unknown factor of never before attending this groups workshop retreats. Talk about possible stress, ugh! 

Once I got to the event and connected with friends along with making new friends, I had no fears or worries. I was well prepared, ready to prove my worth but not anxious to see it. I even surprised myself by being able to demonstrate four of those stitches upside down for the group. I did not prepare to do that ahead of time either. Guess I have watched Sewing with Nancy on PBS too much. Just seemed natural. 

I scored with this approach, being able to assist one student that had tried for several years to do a stitch to no avail. It is a personal accomplishment for me that I was able to gently explain what she had been doing wrong. I then alowed her to practice it enough to “get it” and produce the stitch several times on her own. 

I have to admit I had not considered this possibility but just went with the flow. Yes I do get a charge from this kind of discovery. I also celebrated this with the group. As an added treat I received more than one accolade from my students for what they learned from me. SCORE!!! 

I recall Sally Fields saying ” you like me, you really like me!” This doesn’t mean I wasn’t confident I could excel in teaching this class. However with like minded artists it is a golden feeling when you are accepted for what you can do, how you can show what you know and who you are as an artist. 

I HAVE found my tribe even if it is more than one group. My life is full and rich with each of these like minded people. We laugh, we cry (mostly from me laughing too hard), we support and encourage each in their own journey. I know I would not be the person I am now if not for you. Thank you.

I will now share the beginnings of my latest artwork. A seascape with autumn colors of gold, purple and deep maroon. This is a tease for the finished work that should be completed by Friday this week. Another new piece for my two person show in May. 

The beginning stages showing the base batik along with laying out the stringy yarn for a background. C Quite a bit further along, this includes a lot of scrunched purple velvet for the foreground, netting over the stringy yarn with more of the same on top of the netting to show depth. Stitching to emulate fan coral in a golden orange thread and couching of fusha trim for a funky seaweed. At this point the rise of the velvet is looking like a volcano. Need to resolve this or make it a focal point. What do you all think?