Dear ASDP Board

Conference 2015

12/07/2015 7:58 PM | Anonymous

Conference has been the healing inspiration to my ailing heart and outlook!

That may sound sensational, but allow me to explain. Due to family events it had been 8 years since I attended conference. In the last 4 years I have lost both my parents and become an empty-nester. That’s a lot of loss all at once. It seemed as though everyone else was excited about a new endeavor and I was stuck in the quagmire of grief and darkness. My alterations business became stale. On the drive home from conference I heard George Strait’s “I Hate Everything.” The guy in the song had such a bleak outlook that he even hated the four seasons. I never hated everything, but the song helped me recognize that I’m making progress. Time, a wonderful husband, and this conference with my sewing sisters have lifted me to a brighter perspective.

Loss affected all aspects of my life. My world became colorless. I am a nurturer. I raised our son and cared for my elderly parents. Those were responsibilities I anticipated accomplishing. And now I have. Suddenly, at 52 years old I’m staring at my sewing machine wondering existentially, what’s next? I thought I’d have another 10 years with my parents, that I would be retired and caring for them and then go play with my grandkids. Now I don’t know what to expect (even though the whole world is open to me.)

Everyone else was embarking on a new endeavor. My son graduated college in May and is living his dream in Manhattan with a very good job. That’s what he’s supposed to do. My husband has gone back to school. My sister moved to another state to work for the oil industry and travels the world. I’m 52, in my colorless grief-stricken world of alterations, staring at my sewing machine wondering, what’s next?

What’s next? Conference. Nothing was going to keep me from conference this year. I had an inkling of my almost profound need for conference this spring when I took a remnant from my stash and created a lovely wrap for a mother of the bride. It reminded me why I sew. It felt so good to create. Creation over loss.

I excitedly browsed the conference brochure and decided I needed more than the core conference. I needed to stay for the Transformational Reconstruction master class. It just looked so far out! Fabric origami! Just the class to stretch my mind, to create something wonderful and unique, and pull me so far from my doldrums.

At conference I volunteered at the registration desk. No brainer, right? Right up until Sandra Betzina, our Lifetime Achievement Award winner, asked me if she could bring to her morning class a fashion student she just met at breakfast who was not connected to our conference. “Uh, let me find out for you, Sandra,” I replied. (BTW, the answer is LAA winners can do anything they want.)

Joan Kuhry and I took tickets for the fashion show. We stood in the back of the room and the models collected near us as the show neared an end. I collected the ballots for audience favorite and Judith Neukam petted my sleeve, admiring the textured fabric of my top. Takes a lot to impress that lady! Later on Debby Spence and Barbie McCormick explained their challenge-winning sheaths and I marveled at the time and talent invested in each. These are my people! We’re talking sewing.

I roomed and dined with many different members. We discussed our classes and experiences, the direction of our businesses, and who spent the most money at SR Harris.

Once home and unpacked I considered all I had seen and learned: fantastic challenge garments; clever classes that will improve my business; the far out TR master class; but most especially the laughter and camaraderie of my sewing tribe.

Today, I sat down at my sewing machine clicked on the light and smiled. That small, warm light illuminates my future. Not so much to a new endeavor, but to a new outlook on a long time love. Conference reminded me why I sew-- for the pleasure.

Written by Kathy Burns

2885 Sanford Ave SW #19588, Grandville, MI 49418 ~ Toll-Free (877) 755-0303 

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