The Privilege of Teaching

July 29, 2009


Lynn South and Meredith in Miami, March, 2009

Lynn South and Meredith in Miami, March, 2009

As a professional teaching artist that also travel teaches, I have the great privilege of meeting and working with many people.  I’m sure I’ve posted about this before but it bears repeating…sort of like the lesson you learn again through your life in different ways.  I hope you know what I mean?

This picture  was sent to me from Lynn South (aka Crash) that was taken when I was teaching in Florida, the last stop of a short teaching tour this Spring.   I laughed at how I ended up being framed by the curtains behind me like we’re in some sort of make shift theater (maybe we were!).   This was taken during a class on polymer clay that I was teaching for the South Florida Jewelry Arts Guild (www.sfjag.org).  This was a really great group and I enjoyed teaching for them a lot.  It wasn’t just that I was taken to a party every night from the time I got off the plane.  Really!

Lynn was there when I was introduced to Limoncello for the first time.  I know – middle aged and never had Limoncello?  I don’t get out much, really.  My 1992 Geo just turned to 89,000 miles and I’ve owned it since it had 8 miles on it so that sort of gives you an idea?

The Limoncello was made with grain alcohol so it didn’t take much and I’m sure Lynn was laughing at how goofy I got.  Gerry Rudoff makes some pretty strong Limoncello but it’s tasty.  He kept asking if I wanted more and I had visions of having to be carried to the car, dragged into their house and carted off to bed.   I just couldn’t see doing that as a good guest and all.  Besides I think I had to teach that next day (picture above!).

Anyway, I am always struck by the amazing talent that I get to witness as a teacher.  I am really just a conduit in that sense:  I show how something is done and the students take those techniques their own incredible directions.  It is always humbling and awesome to see,  a privilege really.

Beautiful cake made by a member of MEOW for classmates potluck!

Beautiful cake made by a member of MEOW for classmates potluck!

I never know what variety of talents will unfold in a class either, since I don’t usually know much about the people I’m teaching.  Classes are a bit of a “hit and run” that way.  I come in and teach what I know, briefly working with each person in some way and then I’m gone.  When I first started teaching artists it was hard not to bug them to show me what they’re doing later down the road!

Now check out this cake.  I recently taught a group called MEOW, the Machine Embroiderers of Oregon and Washington.  There were members from different local chapters such as the Seattle Cats MEOW, etc. and each brought things for a potluck lunch to share.  The spread was unbelievable.  I HAD to take a picture of this beautiful cake made by one of their members.  Isn’t it exquisite?  What a lovely thing to do and share.  This was one of those times that I cursed mightily at being allergic to wheat!

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