Category: teaching

Permission to play

Throughout my life, I’ve explored new ideas. I remember as a kid making papier-mâché masks. My mom taught me how to sew and crochet when I was 10 years old. I messed around with paints and drawing. In high school I “minored” in art and had the most wonderful opportunities to study Chicago architecture and stained glass. Special bonus in my youth were field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry, each captivating my creative eye.

Later in my life I became more focused in what I created. You may have even found me through my art; nature-inspired mixed-media textiles. Even though my art is focused, I still dabble in a lot of things. My love of wool is pretty strong. I love to knit and felting is addictive for me too. This week I took some time for creative play and made these felted bowls. (Do you ever take time for creative play?)

Sometimes I forget about the importance of creative play. I get focused on what needs to get done – NOW! I frequently push back on the idea of taking time for fun creativity. Sometimes I almost dread it, because I know I’m going to create a mess, which means I’m going to have to clean up too (more work- ugh!). However, I truly believe its an important activity to add to your life. The easiest way to proceed is to take a class … explore something new with the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor. I do this occasionally. (Pro tip: one of the perks is you won’t have as much clean-up afterward. YAY!)

Playing is a way of learning. And, if you let go of expectations, it can also be a mindful experience. Felting is one of those crafts that you almost have to let go of expectations. As I built the bowls, I chose fibers from my stash that I had no idea how they would react with the process. I also selected colors that I wasn’t confident would work together (e.g. purple and orange?).

My point is by playing without expectations we can be present in the experience. If it fails, so be it. If it works, bravo. But either scenario, we learn and likely improve our skills. Best of all we take time for ourselves and let go of the other junk that consumes our brain. I give you permission to play!

Inspire you

All the partying with the “Cloth & Clay” exhibit is over. Last week we removed all our artwork making way for the next exhibit at Campbell House Galleries. Right now, I don’t have any new exhibit opportunities coming up. Its time for me to refocus. Although, I’ll keep working on my art, my major focus will be teaching.

I’ve taught almost all my adult life. My first “teaching” job was right after my undergraduate degree. I got a job working at Plum Creek Nature Preserve (IL). From there, I got a summer job working as an Interpretive Ranger for the National Park Service at Mt Rainier (WA). Following that I pursued a teaching certificate (Secondary Science Educator), then continued on to my graduate degree studies. The story continues with a variety of other teaching opportunities over the years.

When I teach, I love watching the “ah-ha” moments. These can be either when my students are enlightened to a new concept or when the finally grasp an idea or skill they’ve been struggling with. The “ah-ha! I think I get it now!!” moments are the prize for the teacher and student.

As with my art, I have a ton of ideas for new classes. And, I’ve been capturing a bunch of video to create some YouTube tutorials. Videography can be pretty time consuming, so my production time will move slow with this. I want to get it right for you. I’ll be dropping things as they’re ready. If you want to be the first to know about my new content, be sure to sign up for my NewZletter . You can also find me on Facebook [my page: NanetteSewZ / my profile: Nanette S. Zeller] and Instagram [Nanette_SewZ].

Coming up first is my On-Demand class called Photo-to-Applique. I’ve been talking about this one for awhile and its time to get all the content produced. The images in this post are class samples. So stay tuned and remember, when I create new classes and tutorials my goal is to keep it easy but also inspire you!