I taught a workshop for the very first time on Tuesday. I was totally prepared, yet I had no idea where it would go, and I’ll do it differently next time.

About a month ago my friend Cathy asked me if I would come and teach a workshop in Craftivism to a group of transgendered teens who meet at the clinic where she works as a therapist.  It’s a support group where they mostly discuss safer sex and transgender empowerment.  She had seen my work and thought it would be fun to have me come and teach them how to make something that makes a statement.

I decided to teach them  to stitch mini-banners, like the that one I made, from the lovely Sarah of Craftivist Collective in the UK.  I researched a bunch of slogans, made little canvases, thought about my schpeel, etc. etc…  We did not make mini-banners.

Here’s the good news, way more than half of them were into stitching and making something. They just wanted to make decoration, not activist statements, and hell, I’m fine with that.  So, we sat and chatted, and laughed, and one of the boys worked on an initial for his mom, another stitched “TSGS” in CURSIVE!!, which is the name of his performance group (I asked him to let me know about shows).  They were creative and lovely and funny, and so involved that at times you could hear a pin drop.  I love that about stitching.  The loudest, craziest people get completely lost in it.

They asked questions about next time the I visit, so, there will surely be more.  Next time I will teach basic embroidery.  I will make little linen squares with patterns – the transgendered symbol, rainbows, hearts, mp3players, whatever, and I will bring lots and lots of colors.  Maybe the time after that I’ll teach them to make their own patterns… hm…

And next time, I will take pictures.  I didn’t want to be intrusive, but afterward when I floated the idea, they all said it would be fine.  I can’t wait to show you all of them being creative and excited about something new.

Halfway though the workshop one of the kids looked at me and said, “You’re not transgendered.” He was 99% sure.  “Not physically,” I replied.