Last week I went to Durban, Natal in South Africa to do workshops and thought I would share with you one of our South African workshops. Durban is about a 2 hour flight away and is normally much, much warmer than it is in Cape Town so I was looking forward to getting out my summer clothes and packed accordingly. However when we arrived they had the worst weather in years, cold and raining plus heavy snowfalls in Howick about an hour away made it exceptionally chilly. Needless to say I had to make do with layers of summer clothing and the odd cardigan I had packed!
You can click on each picture for a full view.
Merle Clarence, a friend of mine who has a good knowledge of the technique came to assist me, thank goodness because I don’t think I could have done it without her! Not only did she organise the passports, take control of the luggage (I am a bit dozey when it comes to airports) but she also took control during the class, helping students to mount hoops, hovering in the background, reminding me to get a cup of tea and generally running my life leaving me free to teach the class. I would love to take her on my overseas workshops, wonder if she would mind going in the luggage hold? This was the only time I managed to catch her with the camera.
We were collected at the airport and taxied twice daily to the workshops by a wonderful lady called Carol. She is a part time book keeper and kept track of my sales and all the finances for me, I really was surrounded by little angels!
We stayed in a wonderful B & B called Mortonson Manor, which has recently been taken over by a young couple and their family. We were treated to huge big bedrooms with kingsize beds, hot water bottles and scrumptous meals by Carrie and her staff, just what we needed at the end of a long tiring day. For more information click here.
The workshops were held in the classroom adjacent to the shop Nimble Fingers. The owner Helen Burnett had recently sold the shop and was in the process of handing over so this was the last week – what a wonderful venue, large spacious and so much stock from quilting & embroidery supplies to wool. There seemed to be a continuous influx of customers which her staff took care of – most of her staff seemed to be friends who helped out.
I project all the instructions for the workshops onto a projector screen so that students can see enlarged examples of the step by steps and follow each stage easily without having to resort to their notes all the time. This also enables me to include video clips of the stitch technique which saves having to demonstrate when one has large numbers in a class. Not knowing what to expect re the workshop layout I was a bit concerned there would not be room for the computer/projector equipment and screen but I needn’t have worried it was perfect and we also managed to include a seperate showing of my colour presentation for both students and outsiders.
We ran beginner and Intermediate workshops and what a lovely, receptive bunch of students! Lots of laughs were had and we managed to complete most of the project in the alloted time frame which was great.
I asked one of the students, Maxine to thread up her needle so I could show her a stitch and she handed me a piece of thread about 15cm long. I looked at this and said “what do you want me to do with this” and she looked sheepish and said “I dont like wasting thread”. So I explained that the rule of thumb was to measure from the tips of your fingers to your elbow and she said “that is the tips of my fingers to my elbow”! We decided in her case it should be “fingers to armpit” as in fact she was a weenie little lady as can be seen below, caught in the act of helping herself to yet another scone at tea time! Speaking of tea time – the selection of eats was incredible. Sue the tea lady set out this array of cakes, scones, sandwiches etc every morning and every afternoon, it was just too yummy, thanks Sue!
All in all a wonderful few days. I feel blessed by the ladies that I met on the workshops, they were so appreciative and it was lots of fun. They all seemd to gain a good grasp of the technique and hope they will carry on the beautiful work they are doing.
Have a wonderful week and happy stitching. Trish