Each year the TVR region of the Embroiderers Guild of America hold an event called Share-A-Stitch, or SAS to those of us in the chapter. What happens at a SAS? There is a shop set up with a lot of embroidery related items. There are banquets and dinners that bring in special speakers to educate and entertain. There are meetings for the officials of the TVR region. But, most importantly for me, there are classes. Each SAS has a list of specialized classes in embroidery techniques. This years SAS was held near me as it was put on by my local chapter of the EGA. This brings me to how I participated.
Back, about a year ago, my chapter gave out a door prize at one of the quarterly meetings of a class at the SAS. The classes cost and so what I won was the money to take one. This was great news considering that I don't often have the money for these kinds of events.
At first I was excited and intrigued. I have never done anything like this before, it would be a great new experience. But, as it approached, I became nervous. Am I good enough? Will I succeed or fail?
Lets take a step back and think about what I did over a year ago. This same group was awesome enough to give me a scholarship to take a correspondence course offered by the EGA national. It was on pulled thread embroidery, a style/technique I have never tried. I was equally nervous then, but pushed through to complete it because someone else paid for it, I shouldn't let them down. What I learned from that experience was that all I can do is fail. But, if I never try then the ONLY thing I would do is fail, so why not attempt to NOT fail and actually try. I succeeded then, I will succeed a second time.
With my confidence bolstered and my needles ready, I went to the Knoxville Chapter Share-A-Stitch and had a blast. The theme of the event was Foothills Fantasy, and so the teachers often incorporated that idea into their classes.
My class was called Appalachian Charm. The pattern is a mix media embroidery piece, meaning it has more than just stitching on it. The design showcases one of the oldest exports of this region, tobacco. But, the focal point of the piece is a cantilever barn, a unique and very region specific structure that isn't uncommon out here.
Knowing that success is just a choice between fear and courage, I have ventured out further than I ever thought possible when it comes to embroidery. Over the past year, since I finished that first piece, I taught myself a new form of blackwork and finished this piece. It wasn't a class and no one paid for me to do this, it was a choice to stretch out on my own.
I have been a stitcher most of my life. But, it has been since I joined the Embroiderers Guild of America that I have learned just how far that this art can go. I also have learned that embroidery isn't just a little hobby, it is a serious art form. The EGA isn't a little group of like minded friends sitting around and decorating tea-towels, it is a guild of artists expanding their work, pushing their limits, and helping the world learn about the art of embroidery. (Kinda like stitching witches...wink wink)