One of the aspects of the Olds College Master Weaving program is being able to mentor the people going through it. Mentoring students is just an extension of teaching. It is a loosening of the student/teacher relationship, offering guidance and feedback. A recognition of the fact that they are growing, learning, becoming independent of the student/teacher aspect of two people, both passionate about this craft we call weaving.
As part of my role in the program, I have made the decision to teach myself out of a job, so to speak. Preparing the soil for other seeds to take root and grow. As such I have agreed to mentor one student through the fifth level - the independent study. Apparently the college is very close to publishing the requirements for that study, so hopefully those people poised to enter this final stage will be able to get the bit between their teeth and dig in. (Mixed metaphors, but oh well!)
The older I get the less and less I am concerned about my own standing in society and the more I wish to see others succeed who will be able to take up the torch and keep the light of knowledge about this craft alive. I am well aware that my time as a really active teacher of this craft will be drawing to a close - maybe sooner, maybe later - but that after 40 mumble years, I've done my bit. It is time to start edging towards the side and let others take over.
To this end, I have already talked to a few people about their intentions, whether or not they are interested in teaching. For those that are, I will do my best to assist them in what ever way I can.
So many people have encouraged me along the years. It's a great feeling to do the same for others.
How long will I continue to teach? To be determined. But I have already made the decision to stop accepting bookings from guilds. My last guild workshop will be Oct. 13/14 for The Woolgathers guild (Comox/Courtenay) on Vancouver Island. I MAY fill a few seminar slots at the conference here next year although I am holding myself in reserve in case we need a few more. I have told Zachary that I will add two more classes to my schedule (given I'm not doing guild workshops). I may also write articles, although - quite frankly - this book manuscript has about worn me out in terms of my wanting to write for publication.
The medication I'm taking for the lymphoma causes 'tired' and every day seems to be a struggle. I need to conserve my energy for those things I feel most strongly about. And right now, that is passing on my knowledge and ensuring another generation of teachers who will carry on teaching and keeping this craft healthy, vital and alive.