Reflections and Moving Forward

Like many people, the start of 2020 has me reminiscing a bit about this last year. For me, I have had some pretty exciting temari moments.

Certainly, having my temari actually travel to Japan and participate in a show there is a high point I will not forget soon. I’m happy to have my “Inhalation/Exhalation” safely home, where I can enjoy it and everything that it means for my own journey of rejuvenation and faith. The fact that it has a neat little trophy next to it, still thrills me to pieces!

My “Inhalation/Exhalation” temari, with a friend from Japan!

Then there is the wild success of the Mushashino Flower stitch-a-long that ran in the Temari Challenge online group. I really wanted to push myself to see if I could write detailed directions for a seriously complicated ball, that would enable a wide variety of temari stitchers to complete it. This is one of my ultimate career goals, to turn “complicated” into “doable” for people who might not be able to deciper the Japanese publications.

Well, the experiment was a huge success. It was such a pleasure to see so many people take up the challenge with me! My directions ended up being over 40 pages with over 90 illustrations, so maybe I went a little overboard. But many brave folks dove in with me, and hung in for over two months as we worked our way through the toughest stitch-a-long ever. And despite a few bumps along the way, I can say that many people really learned a lot, and quite a few finished their own gorgeous temari! The range of colors and creative interpretations inspired me. And the teamwork and support of everyone made me so proud to be a part of an incredible group of friends, and artists. I’m so impressed by everyone that took up the challenge, and I couldn’t be happier with how it went. (And I knew they could all do it!)

My finished stitch-a-long ball

One thing I love more than teaching online, is teaching temari in person! And one frustration of mine is that it can be hard to convince people to take a two day introduction class if they have never seen temari before. (Pictures just never do temari justice.) So I’ve been brainstorming new ways to get students interested in this amazing craft. And this year, I finally broke my own rule, and did a “kit” class.

My “rule” has always been that I want to teach skills, not projects. I worry that project classes may be fun, but do not prepare students enough to continue to study temari. The downside, though, is that longer classes require a larger time and financial commitment, and for such an esoteric art form, that can be a big ask for new students.

The good thing, I realized, about a short, one ball class, is that it is exposure. It is a chance to see if you really like something before you dive in. So this year, at Black Sheep Yarn Shop, I taught a single afternoon class. To my delight, the class filled up, and the students did an amazing job stitching this holiday ball.

My Peppermint Twist, afternoon class temari

It was more upfront work for me, as I wrapped and marked all the balls, but it was worth it. The students all seemed to really enjoy temari, and many of them are now interested in taking a longer “skills” class. So hey, mission accomplished!

Finally, I ended the year on a high note at Longwood Gardens. Two of my temari were featured as part of the bonsai display.

(I love that they are sitting on a wood stand from a tree from Longwood itself. The little details that the staff of this amazing place work out are just incredible.)

I saw this display for the first time before Christmas with some of my family, and it was very special. Sadly, the morning light made capturing the overall display tricky. I’m hoping to get up there this weekend to improve these shots.

As I was hovering around taking pictures through gaps in the crowds, I heard a young woman exclaim “I love that blue thing!”. She was pointing to my temari. My heart really soared. After all, most people were really there to look at the plants, first and foremost.

I also had the chance to chat with some very nice visitors about the art of temari in more detail. One gentleman commented “I love your enthusiasm for what you do!”. Little did he realize I could have stood there happily talking about temari all day…well, except I didn’t want to bore my family.

So after an amazing year, what could top all of that? Well, I don’t know! But I have many things that I am looking forward to. One thing that I am VERY excited about is a new format for teaching at Red Stone Glen. We are trying out an “Open Studio” class. This is a class for returning students, or anyone with a little temari experience to come and work on learning new skills that they choose. While it will be less structured than my previous classes, I’ll be able to email with the participants ahead of time, so that I can prepare individual lesson plans and projects just for them. I am really hoping this type of class takes off, and will be a opportunity for some of my very enthusiastic students to expand their skills even further!

I’m hoping to make more progress on my Japanese Temari Association Level 3 certification as well. I’ve been putting off working on the curriculum for a while, and I need to buckle down and get some work done! This certification is something I am holding myself to completing before I get serious about putting together my book. So it feels a bit like a roadblock, but I am determined to get through it. I feel it is only right to prove my worthiness to the JTA as a teacher before I actually try to publish my own book.

And I’m also hoping to continue to spread the word about our wonderful love of Temari to new people. I’m going on a cruise in March, and I may have the opportunity to give a small talk about Temari, and even teach a few project ball classes! (It’s a very active, special cruise, the JoCoCruise, and there are a lot of crafters on the boat). And I’m always looking for more ways to travel, teach, and share, and I hope more opportunities to do so will come my way in the coming year.

Finally, I’m entertaining dreams of a “temari retreat”. This is in the early stages still, but imagine getting together with a group of stitchers for three or four days somewhere idyllic and peaceful. Sharing your work, learning from each other, being inspired, and having fun… As I said, this is still in the “dreaming of” stages, but it is something bouncing around in my head.

Thank you for being a part of my temari journey, and for your support in what I do. I would not be as happy and blessed of a person without your support. I hope you have had a great holiday season, and that the new coming year brings you not only happy and colorful crafting, but blessings and joys in all aspects of your life!

1 thought on “Reflections and Moving Forward

  1. Great desig, I have finally getting the way to complete some “balls” between my daughter and I , we were able the decorate the Christmas tree. Many comments from friends and family. Enjoying myself , thanks for your lessons and books
    Phyllis Buoniello mafa, 2019

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