This is one of the books that I initially made at Eliza Holliday's workshop, but I've taken it apart and re-sewn it about 10 times now. That's really the best way for me to cement a stitch in my brain! This one uses a long-stitch, and now that I've been looking around at various long-stitches, there seems to be a variety of ways to approach it. I couldn't help but add a little bit of Kelly bling with the eyelash yarn, but the yarn also serves the purpose of tightening up the exterior stitches as well! The cover is painted with a mixture of inks and gesso, giving it a fun marbling effect, and the signatures are Arches text wove which hold both wet and dry media very well as I shared here. The girlies and I are on Spring Break this week, so we hope to find some time for art in between beach trips and other outside play!
I spent last Wednesday-Saturday at the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities national conference. The conference was in Jacksonville this year, so we didn't get the benefit of being able to stay in the hotel for all the late night activities. And late nights are great fun, because the musicians, agents, student life staff and even some students all get together for fun jam sessions. Wish I could have stayed for those! As you know if you've been reading my blog for a while, I've been going through periods when I've been working towards a change in my day-to-day professional work, leaning towards making a shift over to the faculty side of the house. Conferences like this always energize me and remind why I've done this work for so long: it's the connections, both the connections and relationships I'm able to build with my students as well as the connections and relationships I'm able to build with other professional staff and musicians and speakers. There are just some truly awesome people in this field, and that makes the decision to make the switch so much harder.
One particular conversation really hit home with me. I was having lunch with a few speakers who've become friends and ended up having a long talk with Troy Stende after lunch. We talked about our families, sharing pictures of our kids, and about the challenges and heartbreaks we've both faced in finally having these wonderful little families. And we talked about the work that we do. When he learned that I've been in this field for 18 years now, he was surprised and asked how I've done it for so long (this is a high burn out field because of the time involved). I knew the reason was the connections I'm able to make with my students, some far stronger than others, and then he told me that he really envied my side of the field. He said that as a speaker, he gets to see that initial spark go off in students that he works with, but then most often, after that hour or that day spent in training with them, he rarely sees them again...he doesn't get to see if that spark grows. That reminded me how blessed I am to have that opportunity. I do get more than a hour or a day with them, and the ones that I really bond with, I get years with, even after they've graduated! I told him about several of my former students whom I'm still very close to, and knew in my heart that there were dozens more that I didn't mention, and he said, "That's your gift. That's why you've done this work for 18 years." And he is so right. Even through all the admnistrative nightmares I've been dealing with over the past couple years, (no, I'm not afraid to tell you that institutional effectiveness is truly driving me over the edge!), it's the students that keep me there.
I know that the primary reason I've been looking at the switch is time. While my current role gives me all these wonderful opportunities, those opportunities come at a huge cost in time away from my family, and not just at conferences, but also at really long days and often times nights on campus. My girls are at a time when they are changing so quickly, and that time with them so is precious. I'll keep pondering and see where the good Lord takes me, but right now, I'm thankful that I've had these past four days to provide me with some much needed clarity at just the time when I needed it.