I am so excited to write that I have accepted a place to study knitting for a year at a fantastic Textile/Design/Art college here in Stockholm!!! I will be full time student of knitting!!! – Knitting as a form of artistic expression, design, techniques, form, Swedish textile history, spinning/colouring yarn, and finally a large examination project that will be shown as part of an textile/art exhibition! They have their own gallery on site. I can barely believe the words I am typing!
The resignation letters for my two part-time teaching jobs are in and I will continue working as a teacher until June 12th. Schools finish a lot earlier in Sweden than my native UK. Then, on 24th August I begin a very exciting chapter at Handarbetets Vänner Skola! They made a video of an open day which gives you an idea of the location and atmosphere even if you don’t understand the Swedish narration. And on that note, as all my education will be in Swedish I hope to improve my language skills along the way.
The school is situated in Stockholm in a beautifully historic house with airy and light studios with expert teachers. It is situated in the lovely area of Djurgården just opposite the famous Skansen. There is lots of inspiration nearby with the museums and cultural centres and pleasant surroundings to walk around and be inspired in between the hours and hours of knitting. Talk about a dream come true!
The course is summarised in Swedish here: http://www.hv-textil.se/vara-verksamheter/hv-skola/utbildningar/textilhantverkstickning-basar/
The academic year looks something like this:
800 hours over 40 weeks:
Formlära (form/design) 160 hours
Stickning (knitting) 464 hours
Textila material/Spinning/Färgning (textiles, spinning and colouring yarn) 48 hours
Textilhistoria (textile history) 28 hours
Enskilt projekt (individual project) 100 hours
Summa timmar (total hours) 800 hours
I submitted my portfolio (shown in the last post: http://garnharmoni.com/2015/05/07/portfolio-stickningsgladje/) and a heartfelt letter on my motivation to dedicate a year to knitting at an advanced level. I was honest about the fact that I have long-term health issues and that one area of interest would be to investigate further the health benefits of knitting and handicrafts. I already researched and wrote an extensive essay on this (as part of my Swedish language studies) and I am seeing updates all the time about the benefits of knitting to promoting well-being and good health.
The very kind teacher has already put my mind at ease as we have talked about how we can work together to give me the best chance to grow and develop as a knitter and designer with an awareness of the rest breaks I may need in between classes to manage my CFS/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.) The course is full time so every day is 09.00- 16.00 but there is already a sense of flexibility and understanding and working creatively in a craft I so enjoy will be energy-giving and a tour around the school gave a real sense of calm and reflection.
Here and now, after months of a bad luck healthwise and a relapse that I am still fighting to come out of, I feel excited to take up the challenge but also a relief that from day one I have been able to be open about my situation. This is in contrast with the feeling of just trying to struggle on and battle in relative silence at work, trying to hide my condition from colleagues and students in the challenging career that is teaching.
A lot of people ask me what will doing this course lead to… in other words what is the point in terms of work and progressing career wise. I do have ideas on that front. But my main focus is on improving my health over the summer break after only a few more weeks to get through at work. And then build on that recovery slowly and surely. After that, I want to enjoy the knitting course for what it is: an amazing opportunity to develop this art form and what happens next will be something at the back of my mind for now and will come forward when the time is right.
How lucky I feel right now to be offered one of only eight places at this historical and prestigious school! I hope to share my learning along the way and do a better job of keeping Garnharmoni updated to spread the knitting word!