The last month went by in record time. While I had great distractions watching nature unfold despite the lack of moisture in the the form of rain, the fact that a major decision was looming was never far from my mind. The decision I am referring to is whether I would be able to organize and facilitate my annual gathering of textile artists from across Canada. Much of my energy went into weighing the pros and cons, carefully studying the government guidelines for re-opening the province and the implications for others in regard to travel from another province. I chose the democratic process and asked for a vote from the 16 women still registered for this year’s event. It would have been our 9th year of gathering under the Art Quilt Campus umbrella.
Much like this fragile spiderweb suspended from both sides of the lily of the valley leaf tip this was territory where one must proceed with great caution, compassion and care. I was due to make the final decision by June 1st. AQR/AQC is on hold till 2021… and who knows what awaits us by then? We have certainly not been able to predict what this year has in store for us. What a way to commemorate a new decade… and the year isn’t even half over!
But, life must go on, as the saying goes… The correspondence that ensued throughout last week after I asked for input was most enlightening.
Several intriguing suggestions were proposed in these emails. What I heard the loudest was that there is strong interest in gathering virtually. For the past two weeks I have talked with various people from across Canada trying to get input on how we could possibly proceed with a virtual AQR version. Those I consulted are members of various guilds and groups that have made great strides toward building community despite the sheltering in place orders. These days many guilds are conducting their executive meetings via ZOOM, they organize sewing days and virtual retreats online, guilds are beginning to book presenters and teachers to deliver their slide shows and workshops via ZOOM, friends gather for Happy Hour or coffee to chat and catch up using ZOOM, choirs have practiced together virtually, and last but not least my Miksang teaching partner and I have conducted a full weekend workshop and numerous gatherings since the end of March. The list goes on and I find all this very encouraging!
We live in a new era. We have the technology and despite someone’s statement “I am a hugger!” I will say the best alternative to keep enthusiasm going and support creative endeavours is at our fingertips. I was dragged into the virtual teaching world kicking and screaming myself… these days I wonder: Why was I so reluctant? So, perhaps there will be a virtual AQR this year for a few artists who have a sense of adventure… I will wait and see!
With new ideas and plans for the next few months I am connecting with many via ZOOM on a personal and professional level. Consultations are beginning to rev up and I am grateful and humbled by the interest and support.
Happy June 1st! Enjoy the sun! Stop and smell the flowers and most of all, stay safe!