It has been a long and quite cold winter on the island with far more snow than we normally get. Winter is a time to hibernate but to also know that energies are being renewed ready for a new year to burst into full glory. Spring is intoxicating and this one is particularly exciting. After over 15 years of home schooling this chapter appears to be behind me and I have so much time. Home schooling always took priority and my work day began when formal lessons finished. Max is 18 and still in education at home but completely self sufficient studying a distance learning diploma in computer hardware. This is absolutely beyond me so he is very much on his own. He will have one more year in distance learning after this and then we shall see where that takes him.
All four children have headed off in different directions. Molly is now post MSc in Endangered Species Recovery and is working for the RSPB on the Capercaillie research project in the Scottish highlands. Harry is now running his own business as a fully trained plasterer on the island. George is completing his first year at the University of Highlands and Islands studying Adventure Tourism. Max looks like heading towards IT. My teaching background tells me that this diversity is a natural order but I do think home schooling has allowed them to find their own paths and become very secure in them early on. The distance learning that they have all engaged in has given them great personal discipline and that binds them all. From early on I was able to study how they each learned and quickly made assessments on how that approach to learning could best be supported. I learned as much from them as they learned from me and we went on some truly spectacular learning journeys together. When home schooling came to an end I missed it terribly but now I am into a new phase and determined to embrace it.
I have been fortunate enough to follow some very different routes since leaving my academic career at the age of 38. Now 53, I feel I have used those intervening years wisely. Always keen to lead by example I have studied textile art, meditation, intuitive art journaling and colour therapy. Just at this time I am learning how to build strong relationships between these different routes.
I have started my very own textile design school and now have a whole suite of courses and workshops. My textile based company, Earth Threads, has done so well from the very first day and I realised that there is much love out there for textile art. This led to the school. Beyond that I have a wee intuitive art journaling group on the island and these members are studying the technique with me for a year before reviewing what difference this skill has made to their lives. I am about to launch a meditation wing to my portfolio offering classes and one to one support. I offered this remotely some years ago with pleasing results but it dropped away as life got too busy.
The luxury of more time has opened up all these possibilities and I take my disciplined approach to time management from my children. Molly, in particular, uses time so efficiently and effectively that I have a wee master to copy. My ultimate ambition in this context is to design a brand new course that brings textile design, colour therapy, journaling and meditation into one place. When I am focused on a new piece of textile art I lose time as the concentration required takes me away from everyday life. This is a rejuvenating experience. I want to bottle this and drip the essence into the other realms of thinking provoked by journaling and meditation. This brand new venture is currently floating around in my head and I trust it will come to the front of my mind when it is good and ready.
The island remains an inspiration for much of my own textile design work. A sense of ‘being’ in a landscape is driving me forward after the enormous success of the ‘Heather Moorland’ collection.
Making time to inhabit other spaces with the same level of integrity is motivating me just at this time. This is alongside my deep and lasting commitment to work with ‘waste’ in innovative and revealing ways. I am fortunate enough to be collaborating with a number of artists this year that will push my thinking still further. My focus is the sea and the complete contempt shown by the human race to this most glorious of landscapes. Time will reveal exactly how I have interpreted this.
I must admit to having one eye on further study. The academic in me doesn’t sleep for long/ More on that another day.
Be inspired, be motivated and be excited as spring is very definitely on its way….