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Why do I teach?

Just 9 months tafter I started making lace, I started teaching lace. Even back in the 80s when lacemaking was having a resurgence, finding a teacher was difficult.

I underwent 12 lessons where I made what can only be described as 'worm bandages'. Using fine thread, I spent hours making long, thing pieces of cloth that were of no use for anything.

The final straw was when I showed a picture to my teacher of a piece of lace I wanted to make for my mum's doll's house and the teacher said 'oh, you won't be ready to make that for years'.

I joined a local group who said 'we don't teach but we'll support you', got out my book and started on the motif for my mum's dining rom table.

The ladies in the group 'didn't teach' but they very definately supported me. They showed me how to make leaves and bring the threads in and out of the bedfordshire trails. And 5 months after I started making lace, I proudly presented my mum with her table centre.

So, who taught me?

Pam Nottingham through her books.

There was no stopping me now.

Small motifs started to appear. I would pick a motif in order to learn a technique and then go make it and give it to mum.

I went through torchon, bedfordshire, bucks point, honiton ... there was no stopping me.

I was addicted.

So, when I was asked if I might teach someone I said yes.

I've always loved coaching people so I thought i'd give it a go. My first two pupils sat with me like I was delivering the gospel of lacemaking. They had bought Christine Springett's lacemaking for Children of All Ages and worked their way through the snake then the victorian lady. Because I'd only just taught myself, I was able to relate to the pitfalls and highs that they were going through. I'd give them the tips I'd learnt from reading books and that had been passed on to me by the ladies in my local group.

The passion that I saw in them was a match to my own. We all enjoyed the experience.

So when I was asked to teach again, I said yes. Again we all enjoyed the experience.

That was back in 1989.

By the mid 1990s, I was often running training courses at work and was put on my first 'train the trainer' course. I learnt how to plan lessons, to understand how people have different learning styles and how to change my language to match my learner's needs.

Now, 30 years since I first started teaching, my lacemaking has advanced and my teaching qualifications and expereince have increased to match. I don't need to sit and write a training plan in order to teach any level of lacemaking, I've been doing it long enough that I can adapt any lesson to match my student.

But what hasn't change? The look of joy when a student finally gets how to move the bobbins and puts in that pin at the end of a row that they made all on their own.

I feel so proud of them for giving a new craft a go. Their joy is only matched by the look of pride on my face.

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