Yesterday, as I was struggling with one of the warmest days here since coming to Nova Scotia, I received a thrilling phone call. It was from the Showcase Chair of the Northeastern Woodworkers Association. His name is Ken Evans and he called me regarding me teaching next March at the NWA’s annual showcase.
I had mentioned that my friend, who is active in this large club, had approached me of the possibility of me going to Saratoga Springs in March to teach some classes on scroll sawing. I had certainly enjoyed the idea of it, as I haven’t been able to get to a show in several years (I have only done one since I moved here to Canada) due to immigration issues and financial constraints. But now that my paperwork is finally processed and I am free to come and go as I please, and also that they are going to actually pay me to teach the classes, it is looking like more of a reality than a dream.
I am so excited about this that I can barely think straight! There are going to be so many wonderful details to figure out and so many wonderful people to meet and old friends to see and things to learn! And after the show, I plan on heading to Chicago to see my children! I haven’t seen my son in over three years and he now has his own beautiful home (maybe he will let mom bunk there for a couple of days!) and I will be able to see my daughter too and my best friend in the world who I have known since I was 13 years old. And so many other things to see and do!
I am thinking that I will take two weeks because of course I will be driving. The trip to New York should only take two days depending on the ferry schedule and from there only a day or so to Chicago. I am probably going to stop down in New Jersey to the offices where my magazine is too and spend a day with them. They are all like family to me and I have been there several times and it is always a pleasure to spend the day there and catch up.
I am going to stick with “pink cloud” thinking that there will be no more snow by the end of March. (If I think it hard enough, it will be so, right?)
The show look as if it will be something that I have never seen the likes of. Ken told me that last year’s show brought in over 4000 people. The woodworking that it encompasses are not only scroll sawing (actually, that is the smallest part of it) but mainly turning and carving. He told me that there would only be four instructors giving classes (me being one of them!) and that I would be conducting three to four classes which would be about an hour each on scroll sawing. The classes would not be ‘hands-on’ (where the students would each have a scroll saw) but I would mainly lecture on scroll sawing and also I believe that I will be able to demonstrate certain techniques that will be useful. (Can you imagine?! They are going to PAY me for talking!)
Although this is really incredibly exciting to me, in many ways it is quite terrifying. You all have figured out by now that I enjoy writing. I do enjoy talking to people too. When I used to teach painting, I had classes ranging from two to three students all the way up to 25 or so. My favorite classes to teach were definitely the smaller ones because I could have more one on one interaction and address things with each individual as needed. There is a lot more involved in talking to and teaching a large number of people.
I am told that these classes will have 30-40 people in each. YIKES! While part of me is scared to death, there is part of me that is quite excited about it and hopefully I can conduct a class where everyone comes out of it learning something new and enjoying themselves. I am very happy that I have several months to prepare for this event, as I am sure that I will map out the information very carefully so that I can touch on what is relevant to someone wanting to learn more about scroll sawing.
Although it has been less than 24 hours since I made the commitment, I have already decided that I will be conducting two levels of classes – one for beginners and one for intermediates. I think that this will be the best way to promote scroll sawing in general – both by bringing beginners into the craft and offering those who have tried it some new techniques to stir their interest and creativity. I think it will be a very positive thing in the long run.
My editor will also be there representing All American Crafts, as they have both a carving magazine and also a turning magazine besides the scroll sawing one that I contribute to. He called me yesterday too and was very excited that I was going to be there and teach and he is very enthusiastic about working together at the event to promote our common causes. It will be wonderful to have the shoulder of a wonderful publishing company to lean on and he said they consider me ‘one of the team’ which made me feel wonderful.
Another of my responsibilities will be to be a judge of the projects. Ken told me that last year over 500 people brought projects, although not all of them were in the contest. There were items from all aspects of woodworking from turning to furniture and it will also be a new experience to be able to see all these items and it will be quite different for me to judge them. He assured me that they have a two hour class for us four judges to attend which will help us know what to look for and make better decisions. This in itself will be a great learning process for me and I found I will be in the company of one of the editors of American Woodworker magazine. I have always looked upon that magazine with a great deal of respect and again – wow! This is a big time show!
I am not going to let it get to me though. Although I am quite terrified, I need to remember that I do know some things about scroll sawing and hopefully I can contribute to the show and to others in my own special area. You all need to understand that I am not used to this at all. My projects and articles have been published, yes. But I do it from my comfortable little place here and for lack of other words, I can control things. Being in front of people and talking about what I do in person will be quite different from writing. I just hope I have enough to offer.
I think that the best way to feel comfortable is to be prepared. I am already thinking of the subjects I will address and how I will present them. I think by the time March arrives, I should have it under control. Overall, I am quite flattered (albeit still in shock) that I was asked to do this. I think it will be a great opportunity for me and my business on so many levels and I am looking forward to it as a new adventure.
I will post information as I get it, as I hope that some of you in the area will consider attending the show. From what I have heard it sounds like a dynamite event. Perhaps I will be able to meet a couple of you in person.
So it is back to work for today on my ‘regular stuff’. The company that hosts my site contacted me and we are arranging the change over. It involves backing everything up, as Lis said, and I did so last night. Now if they can migrate that information into the new program without too many problems I will be a happy camper. I don’t for a minute think it will happen seamlessly (even MY cloud isn’t that pink!), so I am preparing for a day or two to make it look normal again after the change over. I just want it done before the weather cools off too much as already things are beginning to pick up for the fall season. I can’t afford to have the site down for long right now.
Take care and have a wonderful Thursday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"