About Debbie Deem:
Today is August 9th, 2009 and I am so happy to have completed my “Mid-Life Moving Crisis”. Joy, joy, joy! I now reside in Tennessee and look forward to peaceful, creative days with a mountain view. I am still experiencing a bit of Post-Traumatic Technology Stress, but that comes with the territory of living in a more rural setting, and the pain of recovering from a crash of the digital bit, byte, and pixel world that I depend on.
Connect the Dots
Since I made the reference to mid-life crisis above, it seems logical that the other night my mind conjured up a visual metaphor for life – it was a connect-the-dots picture. Certainly, most of us remember moving our pencil or crayon from dot to dot, number to number, intent on reaching the final stroke, then pulling back to view the image that is revealed.
I remember first staring at the dots, studying, and trying to see the finished picture before putting any marks on the page. Sometimes I could see it, sometimes not. Imagining the possibility of what is ahead is engaging, but with certainty, there is alot more fun to be had while travelling the path.
It is probably a good thing this deep moment of thought only lasted long enough to show me a parallel between the dots in a connect-the-dots picture and the choices that I have made along the course of my life.
For me personally, most of my dots have not been sequentially numbered, or they bore no number at all. Sometimes the placement of, and connection to my next dot seems to be out of my control, or guided by an external landscape. Each dot symbolizes a choice I made; each dot a starting point; each dot an ending point. Well, no surprise as to where this is leading, but to the mental picture of my life journey, an unfinished chart, a loose pictorial rendering of living the design of my choices.
Where’s My Yellow Highlighter?
In my minds eye, I am grabbing my highlight marker and drawing a big heart shape around one of my favorite dots/choices/decisions. It puts a smile on my face to remember the excitement of my first Embroiderer’s Guild Seminar. My fellow students at the Elsa Williams School told me that membership was a ‘must do’ and the seminar should not be missed. It was 1976 and the location was Houston, Texas.
I signed up after the main registration was closed, and got placed in the class “Blackwork with Gold” taught by Edith Lynch, and a class aptly named “Garden of Delights – Experimental Embroidery Construction” taught by Barbara Smith. The classes were squeezed into hotel rooms with the beds removed and I believe my seat may have actually been on top of the air conditioning unit. I was woefully un-tooled, and bug-eyed for the lastest gagets and gizmos that everyone else seemed to be sporting.
First Lesson: Any budget is too limited.
The boutique and bookstore were like a field of dreams, and there I stood with only a fraction of the moolah necessary to obtain the necessities. The bookstore made the biggest gash in my pocketbook, and I was so excited to attend the Teacher’s showcase/Author’s night to get my treasures signed.
With my arms loaded, I approached my first book author and laid the spiral bound, gold cover, self-published, “Techniques of Metal Thread Embroidery” in front of Jane Zimmerman.
She paused. Then she took a good long south to north scan of me. It looked as if her face was trying to hold back some sort of laughter associated with hearing a joke. Momentarily, I felt like looking behind me to see if I was missing something funny going on. With unfiltered pretense she said firmly, “What are you doing buying my books? There’s no way you are qualified to do these techniques, and they will be way over your head!”
I cannot remember giving her a response. I think I was frozen in place. How did she know I wasn’t qualified? Could being the youngest one at seminar be a clue?
Jane proceeded to sign the books I bought, and then she said that I would need to take classes from several of the best teachers before I attempted to use her information. I wrote down everything she said and off I went to obediently follow her orders. Thanks Jane.
As of February 6th 2009, I consider myself a very experienced “wanna bee”. My #1 Wanna is . . . ” I wanna be in Tennessee!” And I am happy to say, I am almost there.
Why Tennessee? Because its close to Georgia, of course.
Ohhh kaaaay, that kinda makes sense.
I have been trying to get to Tennessee for over 3 years now. The motivation: I currently live in New Orleans, and I have been fettered by an unprecedented series of complications and red tape associated with the rath of Ms Katrina, circa August 2005. I must leave for the sake of soul and sanity.
New Orleans is my happy childhood home, but I lived in Georgia from 1977 – 2003 and adored every moment of being in a place that offered the four seasons in such perfect proportions. I returned to New Orleans temporarily to care for my mother, who thankfully passed peacefully and prior to the hurricane. Now, as I tie up loose ends, I have a lovely property with a view awaiting my arrival in rural Tennessee.
Since 1975, I have been involved with needlework as an art hobby. Even longer if you count embroidery at my grandmother’s knee, and learning to sew my clothes as a teenager. During my college years, while working for a needlework shop, I learned of a place called the Elsa Williams School of Needlework. After a bit of word smithing, I was able to get approval from my mother to use part of my college education money to attend the school in the summer of 1976. I signed up for five consecutive weeks, and off I went, ending up with 7 total weeks at Elsa Williams. Two of those weeks with Constance Howard – needlewoman extraordinaire with green hair.
It was more than fabulous. Little did I know that I was learning, not only from top teachers, but I was peer to peer with students who would assume top teacher roles in the next 10 years. I was only 21 years old, so what did I know?