Of course you know my passion is quilting and everything it entails. But honestly? One of the most important reasons for doing what I do is this: THE STUDENTS. I love interacting with people — especially quilters — and having the opportunity to teach all over the country; well, the world, really. It is the best perk for me.
I begin preparations for teaching at a regional or national quilt show or conference months before the actual event. The work is sometimes quite tedious. I spend a lot of time writing, editing, and proof reading my class handouts and patterns when I’d much rather be stitching. But when I am in the classroom, all the effort and hard work is without a doubt, worth it. Nothing energizes me more than sharing with a group of enthusiastic quilters! I enjoy interacting with them — hopefully with each and every person in the room — on a personal level. I love hearing their stories, finding out about them, discovering what excites them, or how they came to be in my classroom on that particular day. I especially love it when somone has one of those “ah ha” moments (like on Oprah)! Everyone has a story, and I’m honored when someone shares her or his story with me.
I am also thrilled and appreciate it very much when I hear from students after a class is over, usually by email. I’ve been privileged to receive quite a few photos of quilt tops and completed quilts of projects begun in my workshops. I love seeing the color combinations chosen by the students, the unique quilting designs, and perhaps knowing who was the lucky recipient of the quilt itself. Many times, when I can’t remember a name I will remember the person by seeing a picture of the quilt. I remember the fabrics! What’s even better for me is when someone takes the time to write a little note or email to accompany the photos. Nothing makes my day more than hearing from these former students (i.e. new friends!)
I had the great privilege of hearing from just such a new friend recently. I received the most wonderful letter from Pat Deck, a student in two of my classes at the 2008 Quilters’ Heritage Celebration Show in Lancaster, PA, this past spring. She told me all about the things happening with her and her family, and included pictures of her finished class projects. Her quilts are simply gorgeous (and she is a relatively new quilter!) I was so deeply touched by the kind and encouraging words in her letter and for the time she took to write and fill me in on recent events in her life. I don’t think she’ll mind if I share a snippet with you from her letter:
“This quilt has now started me on a collection of batiks. I just love, love, love the colors and the textures!! I don’t think I would have ever gone in that direction if it hadn’t been for your quilt sample for that class and your enthusiasm for putting bold colors together! I could just hear you over my shoulder saying, “wow, wouldn’t THOSE look great together”, as you picked up two fabrics that anyone else in their right mind would NEVER put together. You’ve got the juice, baby – the knack of egging students on in a really good way!”
Wow — I can’t begin to tell you what it means to me to receive such a wonderful letter and photos! I’m flattered, honored, and completely humbled. It means more than I can begin to express to think I may have had such an impact and helped someone flex her or his newfound creative muscles. Pat’s quilts are gorgeous, and I love the piping she put next to the binding in her Bermuda Triangles (All Decked Out) quilt. I also love the name she chose for her quilt!
In Pat’s Pinwheels and Geese quilt, don’t you just love the gorgeous, bold-n-bright colors and the great effect of the variegated pieced binding? She is certainly on her way to creating many more stunning quilts in the future. Thanks a million for sharing, Pat. Looking forward to seeing you (and giving you a big hug) at the 2009 QHC Show!