Lesson One - Teresa V.

Isn’t it funny how once a group of women start sharing, the connections just happen?

I, too have a fear of ‘putting things in writing’, despite a life time of teaching and learning. I was a teaching of English as a Second Language for many years and majored in literacy, as well as teaching young children, before my present job. Reading has been a huge part of my life – but always looking at other people’s stories. When I think about it, often looking to see where my life story fits. I know that this has been a lifelong search and has sometimes found it’s way into my textile.

When I started thinking about this week’s task, I also went back to the beginning of school and pictured school photos, as well as remembered outfits from around that time. I remember wearing a café coloured dress to school, among others, instead of the normal school uniform. I didn’t wear the school uniform for the first three years or so. I wasn’t the only one, but it

set me apart. I was a quiet, skinny kid who loved books. My parents are Italian and were pretty strict and protective, so I didn’t have friends over or make very deep friendships until I was much older. Immediate and extended family were everything. Again, much later, I railed against this and left home to go to Teachers’ College.

Although, I was quiet, I remember taking a shoe box full of material offcuts and showing them to classmates. Ever since then, I’ve loved fabrics and threads and just the sheer joy of making. I was lucky in that I was taught to sew at school by the Headmaster’s wife (while the boys did woodwork!).

I made a red needle book and pinwheel with running and whipped running stitches. In year 2, I remember being in a classroom with desks where you could lift the table top up and inkwells! Our class teacher that year had us making gingham aprons – red check with green ribbon and cross stitch.

I went onto high school to Needlework, where again I had a fabulous teacher. I made a brown corduroy ‘jerkin’ (lined and all). Nightgowns from paisley cottons. I still marvel at the Hardanger table runner and smocked baby’s dress, intricately embroidered in white stem stitch. Such patience!

Although I have moved on from making garments and very intricate embroidery, I look back and thank those women who introduced me to my lifelong love of textiles.