Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Temporary Trauma

In 2004, I left my academic job to become a fiber artist.  I have had very few regrets.  I believe I’m now doing the work I’m best at:  teaching spinning and knitting, creating handspun yarns, knit designing, and writing about my fiber adventures.

Earlier in my life, I had trained as a dancer.  And I still fundamentally value dance art, and all the performing arts.

Then I trained as a scientist and taught and did research in an academic setting.  And I still fundamentally value science, evidence, and clinical support for health and wellness.

But, now, yarn is my medium of expression and creativity.  And I truly and fundamentally value this work.

I say all this as preface to a short period of anxiety I experienced last week about my current career path:  When I got back from my trip to South Dakota, there was an email from Del, the festival coordinator for the Michigan Fiber Festival.  He was sending me the evaluations he’d received from folks who’d taken my workshops at MFF.  Here’s the text of that email:


here is numberical data from MFF Workshop evals with 5 being excellent

Begin Spin

Petoskey Stone...
2/4       4/5

Mechanics Wheel

Spinning w locks


I need to say that I read this email late at night upon just having returned from being away from home for a week.  I was tired.  When I read his email, I was mortified, shaken to the core.  I interpreted his email to mean that I’d received abysmally low scores of mostly 1s and 2s.  How could this be?!!  Many of the folks who’d spoken to me directly had said very nice things.  What did I do wrong?

I lost sleep that night, worrying that perhaps I was not really meant to be working in the fiber arts and sharing through teaching.  The following morning, I emailed Del:

Hi Del,

The extremely low scores are a surprise to me.  I got a great deal of positive feedback from the participants of my workshops.  Were there any written explanations for the low scores?

To which Del very quickly sent this response:

Scores not low ....

1/5 means you got one check of the 5 (excellent block) for that workshop... 

note that you had nothing below a 4 on the scale of 5 with 5 being exc.

now go have a good day


What a relief!  The trauma was over.  All was once again right with the world.  And I did have a good day.

1 comment:

  1. Whew! I would have thought the same thing initially. It's all how you present the data, isn't it?