I'm so ready to get back to making simple, beautiful dresses for spring and summer! Oh, and tunics as well. Here's a dress I made this past Thursday:
If you read my previous post, I mentioned how I was gonna make something from the three fabrics that this dress is made of.
I've been having them all for sometime now, and after going through my fabric stash a couple weeks ago, I realized that they go so well together.
The batik piece in the front was hand dyed by a local artist who not only creates beautiful batik, but she also creates really nice African masks as well as acrylic paintings. Unfortunately, she has no online presence (other than her personal facebook page), so I can't really direct you to a link to check out her work. However, I do look forward to collaborating on some creations with her in the near future, and I'll be sure to share those outcomes here.
I was able to dig up this article, so you can check it out to learn more about her and her work.
These days I'm customizing four of my dress styles for a lady in New York. For a couple of them she's sent fabric from her own fabric stash.
The asymmetrical hem dress you see on the left above is one I made a few years ago. I'll be making that same style out some pink African dashiki material such as that pictures on the right.
I still, after so many years of doing it, stress out over creating custom garments for people! Especially when they live so many miles away. Thankfully, though, the outcomes are usually positive and the person for whom I've made the clothes is pleased. In the event that things don't turn out as they expected--and this has happened a time or two--I do work to resolve the situation.
Despite any mishaps, I do enjoy recreating my designs for people and am grateful that they entrust me to do so.
So. I'm having a bit of a hard time making a decision.
If you follow me on Facebook, you may recall a post I did a few weeks ago where I spoke about being certified through the Louisiana Department of Education to teach sewing and fashion design in local public schools. I've been on these people's (school system) case for over two years about creating a class in one of the schools for me to teach this skill. The most recent exchange occurred via an email dialogue (because you can never reach these people by phone or in person) between me, the principal of the school pictured below, and one of the supervisors/lead teachers at the school.
Now. This is an alternative school that was just opened up this past fall (the school itself was built in the 1920s, but that's another story). There is soooo much controversy surrounding its existence: the haphazard way that the 3 or 4 programs it houses have been thrown together, the lack of direction from those who brought it about, the hard time teachers are having from the students (who are all behind academically and range in age from 11 to 18, I believe.), the fact that it's run like a prison facility, the high turnover rate among staff, etc. etc. etc. And, if anyone reading this is familiar with the US educational system and its "alternative" programs, you'd be correct in assuming that it's mostly populated with black/African-American students....very close to 100%.
Well, I received a call--after not hearing anything since October-- from the person at the school board office who's partly over Human Resources. She was calling to inform me that they in fact were giving me a class over there to teach sewing. She said the machines were set up and ready to go, and all I needed to do was come pick up my paper work and go have a physical.
Knowing how they operate (chaotically and deceitfully...I worked in the system for over 3 years--in alternative education--doing other things), I decided that I would go to the school to check things out before I made a commitment to anything. So Friday I showed up there, and after staying for 2 hours, I still was unable to catch up with the principal to get any insight on what was what with the sewing program. One of the assistant principals took me to the "room" where I'd be teaching. Turns out that it's in the back of the music room. (Uuuuummmm... :-/ ) Those machines that were supposedly all set up and ready to go were actually piled in the back of the room needing a serious cleaning and oiling. No tables. No chairs. No fabric. No supplies. Yet, according to them the program is ready to go!
I find myself in an awkward position. I've been wanting to get a position teaching design in a local school, but now that this has come up, I'm second guessing it. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with taking nothing (which is basically what's in the back of that music room now) and turning it into a whole lot of something, and I actually like the idea of the freedom that I'll have in that regard. Further, having only worked with alternative students (aside from when I substitute at some of the "better" schools around here...and as far as I'm concerned some of those students would fit right in at an alternative school!), I'm not intimidated or worried about that too much either. I feel like my approach to things and these type of students is such that I'll be able to maintain. (Although former co-workers of mine who now work at the alternative school have warned me that those students are on a whole other level of being out of control. They curse the teachers out, refuse to work, leave classrooms at will, etc.)
Despite the fact that my background is in alternative education, I don't know if I have it in me anymore to go to work and fight with students who really don't wanna be there, who are disrespectful, and who couldn't care less about doing anything other than talking about foolishness and nonsense. Additionally, all the drama from people I know who teach there (who for the most part have encouraged me not to come) regarding administration and lack of concern from some of the "higher ups" makes me tired just thinking about it. I enjoy sewing/designing and love teaching it, but will that remain the case if I accept this opportunity?
I'd like to think that they'd be more into electives, which is what my class would be. But from what I've been hearing, the art teacher--who is well-known for her work and whom I love and appreciate so much!--is even catching hell. Apparently the original music teacher--also very well-versed and experienced in her craft-- walked out after some drama from a student. So, how would they act with sewing/design?
In an ideal situation, I'd get a position somewhere teaching sewing/design to some well-behaved (or well-behaved enough!), interested, and engaged students who understand that I am there to work with them in order to teach them a technical skill, inspire them, and--as one of their teachers--ensure their general well-being. Ideally, that's what would happen. But on the other hand, I understand that it's the other students--the ones who find themselves in an alternative setting with less opportunities--who will likely benefit more from what I have to offer. Trust me, I'm aware of just about every philosophy there is when it comes to working in alternative education and with our children who mostly make up these schools. So I do understand the need for myself and others to stick with them. But man......it can be so very draining!
I don't know. Yes, I wanted a position, but I'm questioning this particular one.