I try to keep my on line image as a crafting person very organised and positive (apart from the odd moan). Recently though, something happened that I can only say is a bit of a wonder.
So, I’ve decided to start some personal blogs about the ‘Me’ behind Betty Virago. Take these posts or leave them, if what I say isn’t for you, then tip your hat, wish me well, and continue searching craft posts.
I wrote a post last year, a bit of a moan, about being let down by Bradford college and a textile craft diploma I applied for. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and at the time I felt angry and “Why is it always me?” about the whole thing.
There is a saying…
God has three answers.. “Yes, Not Yet and I have something better in mind”
I forgot that the third answer isn’t No.
A few months after that rejection I was with my knitting buddies at the Knit & Stitch show in Harrogate, a massive and jam-packed event. Well worth a trip to Yorkshire and at the same time you can visit the Yorkshire mecca, Betty’s tea shop.
Downstairs at the exhibition there is a line of colleges advertising their courses and one caught my eye. Huddersfield University had a degree in Art & Craft textiles. I took a brochure and looked and looked.
School was a place to went to, to get out of the house, not a place for learning, so GCSE’s are lacking. All my qualifications were gained during later employment and personal study and none were related to art or craft in any way. Eventually I worked out how to apply for the course (I know nothing about Uni and I didn’t even know the first thing about how to apply for the course).
In February I was working with Leeds Poverty Truth, settled on teaching little craft classes and selling patterns and crafts. But I had managed to get an interview at Huddersfield, mainly thanks to a superb reference from Boris at Inkwell (Leeds MIND).
The Uni asked me to bring my portfolio to the interview!!! Portfolio? Everyone I asked said not to worry, just take some of my work and I’ll be fine.
Anyway, the interview day arrived. I entered a room with several young people, all carrying huge black leather bound portfolios crammed with stuff. Each young person was accompanied by one or two parents and all looked organised and smart. I own jeans and t-shirts, that’s my whole wardrobe.
We were asked to put our portfolios on a table and go on a tour of the University campus while our work was assessed. Everyone placed their open folders on a table. I pulled out a Tupperware box of bits and a pack of photos. What a idiot I felt! Totally out of my depth.
We went on a tour, very nice. The course works around four techniques, Knitting, weaving, dyeing and embroidery. Every machine is available to use from traditional floor looms to enormous computerised machines. It was fantastic, but the whole time I just wanted to go home. Sadly I had to stick it out, after all, they had my box of things and some of them were on Etsy, I couldn’t just leave them.
After the tour we were led into a room where we had to wait to be interviewed in pairs. There I sat, surrounded by youngsters and parents, uncomfortable, awkward, wanting the ground to swallow me whole. So I did what any other crafter would do in my position, I took out my crochet.
Me and a young girl were the last to be interviewed. Yep, it seemed like I was in that room waiting for hours.
The teacher was very nice, didn’t laugh at my ‘portfolio’, suggested I start writing out my ideas before making things – I have an idea and work it out in my head instead of putting it on paper.
The young girl had stuff, lots of it. Pages of experiments, she was nice though and I gave her my details, so when she comes to Uni she can contact me and I can teach her crochet.
Then I went home.
Like I said, God has three answers and none of them are No. A year ago I applied for a course at Bradford college and it fell through. God had something better in mind.
A few weeks after the interview I had an email, I was offered a place at Huddersfield starting, well, it’s starting in five weeks. The loans and grants have been applied for, disabled student support organised, travel journey planned, new pencil case bought (well, that’s a right of passage). In a few weeks I’m going to be getting up and travelling the train to Huddersfield and It’s not really hit me yet, even after all these months of organising it.
Underneath the Betty Virago image is someone who thinks they won’t achieve much… on the other hand…
Another thing that happened last year was my computer broke. I lost a lot of stuff, all my music and all the photos of me. I have 2 photos of me now and I’ll share them because there is something important that these two photos say. A message for everyone who thinks good things won’t happen, life won’t improve, God doesn’t say Yes.
This photo was taken almost 20 years ago. It’s me, yep, that’s right. I’m sitting in a doorway, wrapped in a blanket (my bed for the night) eating handed out food and drinking cider.
It’s a newspaper cutting that I keep in my bible to remind me how far I’ve come. taken at one of my lowest points in life.
If you want to read more then visit the Leeds Poverty Truth blog
Or watch the video on Youtube
I’m there at 45 mins in.
The only other photo I have was taken by a photographer working for Leeds Poverty Truth. It’s my “after” photo.
No person is a loser. No life is a waste. You, yes YOU, can make it.
Some of you will think, God, bah humbug. Okay, then the human spirit can do remarkable things. take from this what you need and continue looking at my craft posts.
But there are those of you, maybe just one person, who needs to hear this.
God does not say No
God does not make mistakes
God does not make worthless people
You are worth it.