I took Charlotte and Angela to the Georgia Celebrates Quilts show on Friday. The girls earned a free admission ticket for making a block for the guild’s student exhibit. Those two were literally treated like rock stars by all of the attendees and vendors we met. I also appreciated the feedback from others thanking me for taking the time and energy to work with kids to instill the love of making, sewing and creating in the next generation of sewists. I also finally got to meet Miss Fran, who has run the guild’s kid’s exhibit for several years.
My quilt didn’t win an award, which is totally fine. I appreciated hearing the comments and watching people smile when they saw Sadie represented on my quilt. The one thing I did realize by seeing all of the quilts on display is that my skills have definitely improved over the past decade. My skill level is finally on par with most members of the guild that I always held up as the “gold standard” for quilting. When Miss Fran invited me to go downstairs and join the guild, I did just that. Done. I am now officially a member of the East Cobb Quilt Guild. It’s a large, active guild with many opportunities for classes, workshops, bee groups, quilt shows, leadership opportunities, retreats and meeting new quilty friends. It’s also the closest guild to me that meets during the day. Several of my friends from the former AMQG are members of this guild. It’s a win-win on all counts as far as I’m concerned.
When I picked up my quilt after the show tonight, I waited until I got back to the car to open the judge’s remarks. Ten years ago, my piecing was rated between satisfactory and good. My longarm quilter actually received higher marks than I did. Today, my workmanship (including piecing) rated a solid very good, as did my use of color, choice of fabrics and overall visual impact. I scored higher marks than the longarm quilter. Of course, this wasn’t a quilt done specifically for a show. I decided to put it out there to get some feedback and share my happy quilt with others. The judge’s comments were confirmation of what I’d observed looking at the various quilts in the show. I’m an intermediate – advanced quilter (depends on technique) and if I take it up a notch, quilt it myself and place it in the correct category, I might actually win a ribbon (any place, including Honorable Mention would be wonderful). Hubby was like, “Well, why don’t you?” So, I’ll look at the categories and see what the timeline is for the next show. In the meantime, I may just enter my happy quilt in the Georgia State Fair to get another judge’s perspective.
All of this is important because my former job did a number on my self-confidence. I knew I was a damn good librarian and well regarded by my peers, but education is a beast. No matter how much I gave of myself, went above and beyond, strived to improve my skill-set – it still wasn’t enough. COVID merely exacerbated the issues. The sheer indifference by all levels of administration for my area of responsibility was hard to take. I felt invisible. No amount of advocacy seemed to make any inroads – even from fellow colleagues who told leadership what they were missing out on by not tapping into my expertise. I grew weary of dysfunctional leadership, double standards and being made to feel as if I no longer mattered. My former parapro deemed the work environment as “toxic” and advised that life would be so much better a couple of months into retirement. Even after only two weeks into retirement, I’d say she’s spot on. Leaving the job was scary, but everything is “gonna be alright”.
Keep on quilting!