I’ve had four different nudges to get back into teaching over the past two weeks. Three are for shows/organizations I’ve worked with before, and one is from a friend who knows my work. I responded to the three with my usual “I’m working on it, will send info soon” response as I dodged the professional responsibility to be punctual, thoughtful, and organized.
It’s the last one that got to me. My friend Judy mentioned I might get in touch with SFSNAD and see if they’d have me. She teaches there and has heard students express interest in sashiko and boro classes, which are kind of my thing. I did a talk there many years ago, but was not invited to teach at the time, probably because I was a bit of a prima donna about it. If that’s the case, I would totally understand. If it’s simply because I didn’t give them an actual lesson plan, yeah, I own up to that, too.
Because it was Judy asking, I actually took a moment to think about what’s stopped me from teaching. And it hit me.
The last class I taught, an online class for Stitches at Home, was the day before my son died. He helped me set up the camera and microphone while I prepared for the second day of a two-day class session. It was a Sunday afternoon and he was busy with other things, work meetings on his own computer and calls with friends for plans they were making for other projects. He was doing things, the way 20-somethings do. I was slowing him down, but he had promised to help and he followed through. We got the camera to work the way it was supposed to, I started the class on time, and got through the day just fine.
The next day he was gone.
There’s a clip at the start of the class recording where he’s helping me in my studio. Nothing interesting, just the two of us tweaking the camera gear and making it work. A few days after he passed I asked the Stitches staff if they still had it, and they sent it to me.
So. It’s been six months since he left us. I’m not ready to start teaching just yet, but I can write lesson plans for later.
I don’t want to feel stuck doing the same classes I’ve done since 2009, which usually involve a pattern-focused project to make a nice sashiko thing and the popular and more free-form boro class. I’ll keep doing the boro class, it’s adaptive and calming, which is good for ADHD minds like mine. I’m not so sure about what else to offer, though. I don’t enjoy teaching short classes because I don’t feel I can convey any of the actual cultural relevance of sashiko. It’s just a “do it like this” class, which is all style and no substance. Sashiko has depth. It deserves plenty of time.
I want to teach something special. And I don’t know what that is yet, but I have a feeling it’s out there.
In the meantime, here’s my kid.