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Friday, December 01, 2006

Lessons Learned

Well, the "events" contest did not turn out as planned. Perhaps tales of events gone bad are just too painful to share. No matter. I am sending ikkinlala some lovely sock yarn from the Etsy-derived stash for her comment. Perhaps the next contest (whenever that may be) will be more general.

Not too long ago, my work partner forwarded me an email from a colleague. She had lost her father in the past year and she had found comfort in knitting. Around the time her father died, she learned of my voracious appetite for knitting and would often call me for suggestions and advice. We took a few knitting field trips together including going to the MCA's Stitch and Bitch and visiting a yarn shop when we were at a conference in Little Rock. The email she sent to my co-worker told him of how I had been serving as her knitting mentor during the past year and that she was grateful because "sometimes the universe sends you the teachers that you need." What she meant by this is that she always had me to call or email when she wanted to talk yarn and since knitting was the way she was handling her loss, I was serving as her enabler (in a good way!) to help her feel better. I know that email wasn't really meant for my eyes--she sent it to him, not me--but it was nice to know that I had helped her through the difficulty.

My company just premiered a large piece that we had been working on for months. In fact , it is our largest undertaking to date, with collaborations with other artists and organizations, and other complex elements. The piece came about because a composer approached us about a funding opportunity. The grant required a well-rounded concept and the organizational capacity to meet the objectives of the program. And we had two weeks to pull it together to get the grant proposal in. After 10 days of nearly daily conference calls, we landed on our concept and I wrote the grant. Fast forward...our project was one of just nine selected nationally to receive the funding. This summer, the program coordinator for the lead funder came to our studios for a site visit. We had met briefly once before, but on this visit we truly hit it off. I happened to mention that I use knitting to unwind from the stress of my job. It turns out that she does as well. Since that visit, we have been exchanging gifts of yarn, pattern suggestions, knitting tips, etc. While it still would have been an excellent business relationship, because of knitting we have developed a true friendship, one that I'm positive will endure.

On a professional level, this work project was challenging but incredibly rewarding: the piece itself has proven to be a really wonderful piece of art, the collaborators have all been spectacular at what they do and marvelous to deal with, and the funders have been generous and nurturing. (It's almost frightening that it has gone so well.) Those points alone would have made this particular project meaningful to me. But to have also found a new colleague and friend who shares many of my professional interests as well as knitting has been the icing on the cake.

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