That’s the value of teaching.

I’ve been drawing and writing patterns today as I travel. This is one I’ve done before, but it’s been prepared for thread stitching now.

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I don’t know how other teachers design and prepare a class. It’s one of those things that are never really discussed when we meet socially.

I mean I don’t think it’s a secret, maybe it’s one of those things that you’re never certain about yourself, and if you share it, you might be embarrassed that others see you as a bit of a phony.

I guess anyone can design a pattern and sell it to others who have never had the thought to produce one. Some are so darn ordinary.
I think….. “Oh my goodness. I’m sure I’ve seen something like that before. It’s just different fabric”. And yes I have, but is anything new in Textile Art?

It’s not right, it’s not wrong, it’s out there for the consumer.

My ideas come from the need to create and they come from some unknown source. I make no bones about that. It’s a different design process from my earlier profession as a fashion designer. In that situation I designed from the fabric.
I guess those who design fabric then design quilts to show it off to the best advantage. And yes, I’ve done that too for several manufacturers.

I also design to a genre that I create.
Is it thread illustration? Or is it manipulating cheesecloth into a portrait or waves of an ocean.

Is it drawing with thread to create a realistic image?
Maybe it’s a drawing in pencil or pen and stitched to create a quilt.
Then again it could just be a small hand, project drawn on my ipad or a very traditional pattern given new life by colors and prints that serve the passion of the avid quilter.


The quilts tell a story. They are journals of life experiences, some happy, some poignant and some just plain whimsical. No one has the same journey as I do so my designs are personal and I love to share them.

Yesterday I observed a classroom.
The room was humming, and there was the sound of a purring machine in the background.
Everyone was concentrating and there was an occasional conversation punctuated by a laugh. The conversation is a smile and the concentration is an element of design.

Its an honor to see your designs interpreted by others. It’s exciting to see the delight of the students as the project takes shape.

Preparation is the key and I rely on assistance from my PA, who prepares the products months in advance and lives half a world away as I travel. I bless her.

For instance I arrive in an overseas country to teach, preparations have been made many months in advance and yet still I make a discovery of preparations and expectations that were misinterpreted and in one extreme instance on this tour I was told I “you’re inflexible” when I had to work in a warehouse amongst hundreds of working machines.

To be honest nothing is further from the truth. One has to be more flexible in this job than in most.

Every situation is different, I have to be able to travel in countries where most women would have reservations about working, let alone add into the equation moving around 200 lb of luggage, living out of a suitcase for months at a time. Sharing the lives and aspirations of the hundreds of people you meet and sleeping in places that are not your own space.
This tour has been amazing, I’ve sat on my balcony in Costa Rica and marvelled at the beauty of the beach and Ocean before me.
I’ve climbed mountains and ridden horses up steep inclines in search of illusive butterflies.
I spend days with wonderful women in the from different cultures learning more from them than I can share I’m sure.
I’ve taught on a factory floor to an opulent conference room and met the most wonderful people at every event.

I’ve learned so much from my friends. I’m humbled.. I’m still surprised that people are interested in my ideas.

Someone said to me recently, “Is it worth it” goodness how can I explain how much I get out of the adventure.
Is there a value for experience?

As I fly over the bare hills of El Paso Texas, the excitement mounts knowing that I’m going to meet the dearest friends anyone could have in just a few minutes and over the next four days we begin preparations for our next charity event in Alamogordo in June. Thousands of children have had their lives changed by the quilters in that community, my adopted community.

That’s the value.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. flossypatchedbritches says:

    Hi Pam
    Just for starters, I’d like to send you warm thoughts on your travels. I admire your resilience and the fact you find so much pleasure and stimulation wherever they take you. You have hit the nail right on the head with your comments about your lesson preparations. It’s comforting to know it isn’t really a secret and to read the words “embarrassed” and “phony”. I love the group of girls I meet and sew with. Their company somehow feeds my soul but I often feel like I’m not a legitimately creative person in their midst. Knowing that you ( a woman I admire) with your creativity, skill and experience thinks the thoughts you have expressed here today makes me feel great. Thank you, as always, for sharing. I hope there have been some Easter Blessings in your part of the world this week.

  2. Ineke Marijnissen-van der Molen says:

    Thanks, again for sharing your story,s and thoughts

  3. Laurie Tigner says:

    Beautiful post from a beautiful heart.

  4. Jan Williams says:

    I’m sure I speak for your students in saying that we appreciate your hard work, your constant trips to us, but, most of all your enthusiastic talent. Keep up the good work Pam. Luv Jan xx

  5. Sue Buxton says:

    Thank you Pam for sharing.

  6. So well said! the class I attended was enhanced immensely by the extras you added – the trunk show, your willingness to give information, and modifying your material from a classroom without sewing machines to a classroom with. More than a minor adjustment.

  7. Bonnie Bao says:

    How nice these paintings are…

  8. Lesley Hurt says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart felt thoughts, you are such an inspiring woman.

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