correspondence sometimes comes in drifts, like snow
there's the seasonal influx of requests for assistance with school studies.
i try to respond kindly, even when the questions seem silly.
"why do you do art?" is a frequent flyer.
sometimes it is temping to write "because i am otherwise unemployable"
though it's pretty close to the truth.
i don't mind answering a well thought-out selection of questions, but only if you can't find the answers by googling.
towards the end of the northern college year there's generally a bunch of emails from people who would like to come and stay to "assist me in the studio" in return for one-on-one teaching.
a working holiday in the sunny south.
from my point of view this means i would be fully responsible for a person i have never met before, providing meals, a bed, entertainment and transport so that i can explain to them exactly how i want a bundle put together, or a dress stitched, or?
it's far less stressful just to do the work myself. besides, i enjoy what i do. i love the spontaneity that is possible when i am alone (well, with only canine and feline company) wielding scissors and needles and dancing in the leaflitter that carpets the floor of my studio.
and perhaps it is a psychological disability but i feel utter and overwhelming claustrophobia at the mere thought of having to share a month or more of days (and evenings) with another adult whom i may not have actually met prior to their arrival.
in recent years i have been finding increasingly beautiful areas in which to hold workshops and as a consequence the volume of inquiries from people wanting to take a gratis class in return for stoking the fires and gathering plant matter has escalated. i could have filled the upcoming class at Scott's Head entirely with such volunteers :: which could have been hilarious...
a dozen people all stoking the fire and gathering leaves, which would probably look like a splendid pagan ritual but won't pay the electricity bill.
there have been suggestions that i should increase workshop fees so that i can offer scholarship places. i don't see how that would be at all fair to paying participants. it's not going to happen.
and then there are the truly cheeky requests from people who live close to a workshop location and "just want to drop in for a day to see what it's all about". hmm.
some tell me they left well-paid positions in order to pursue their dream career. i applaud their bravery but that is their choice, and not my responsibility. i was an unemployed sole parent (of three) at the time that i returned to plant dyeing. it took me over fifteen years to achieve financial independence and be solely supported by this work. i suppose it's just as well i didn't have a comfy job because i'm not that brave and i might have clung to it and my life would have turned out awfully dull as a result.
but the long and the short of it is, please don't ask me if you can come and stay with me so that i can feed you and house you and teach you everything i know.
because the answer will be
thank you so much for your kind offer,
but i regret i cannot accept.
on the other hand, if you sign up for a workshop, i will do my best to share my knowledge and skills. because that's my job. and my life. and i love doing it.