Earlier this year, the Northwest Arkansas Modern Quilt Guild reached out to me and asked if I'd be interested in speaking to their guild and possibly teaching a workshop. Um, YES! It's been one of my goals to do more public speaking, so this was the perfect opportunity to work on that goal. We nailed down a date that would work for me, and July was it!
I was thrilled! I decided that I would take Rio with me for a little road trip, like we had done the previous year when I spoke at the OKC MQG. If I could keep doing at least one of these speaking road trips a year, I'd be a very happy camper!
That area of Arkansas is only about two hours away, making it a really nice drive. We headed up on Tuesday morning and landed in our hotel around lunchtime. Grabbed a bite to eat, and then went directly to the hotel pool. I'm all about hotels with pools! And so is Rio! After that, we took advantage of a quiet hotel, and grabbed some R&R. After a quick nap and a surprise thunderstorm, we journeyed just a bit up the highway to meet some of the guild members for dinner. SUCH a lovely bunch! And Rio had a friend there just about her age! The dinner with everyone helped any nerves that I had floating around.
We had previously discussed possible topics to speak on, and they decided that they wanted to hear about my journey to how I made 500 tree quilts for Philbrook. I was excited to look back to that experience, and to share my reflections on mass production of art, how to take on gigantic projects without getting overwhelmed, random tips, and whatever else bizarre thing popped into my head! Ha!
It had been many months since I thought much about the tree project, and it was pretty surreal looking back on it all! It was also the first time that I had spoken about it in a public setting, aside from this here blog. I felt like the presentation went really well! Rio got a little stir crazy towards the end, but she's 5, so I get it. ;) I believe I spoke right at an hour, and probably could have kept on speaking for another hour! They had such wonderful questions and feedback, which has already helped me in thinking about what I would add in the future. It's always so enjoyable to join other guilds. I like seeing how they operate similarly and differently, what type of works they are creating, and such.
Speaking is energizing in such a positive, fulfilling way for me. I also love that by actively taking speaking jobs, I am actively using skills that I teach my students, I am becoming a better speaking teacher through experience, and I am showing them that there is always room for growth!
For the following day, we decided to have an improv tote bag workshop. We had eight wonderful participants in the class who all brought their own personal styles to their work! It was a lovely day! We held the class at the Rogers Experimental House, which was such a cool venue in downtown Rogers! Rio and I did a short walk about before class started and were smitten by the charm of the area. I brought along my bin of scraps for everyone to use, and we got to work! We had several hours to make our totes from start to finish. No matter what I'm teaching or who I'm teaching, I ALWAYS learn something! This time, it was tiny rules about boxing corners! I could have used that new knowledge just a week before the workshop! Ha! (Big thanks to their guild and to REH for so many of the photos below!)