This is not about Marco Polo. This is about a great 90-year-old woman. She lives in New Zealand, and is a great artist and wonderful person. She loves to share her art, so she travels long distances to demonstrate her creations and give free workshops.
Three years ago I had the honor of meeting her and the privilege of being her student.
According to what my friend who introduced us told me, she met Betty when she came to my planet as a tourist. Immediately, she empathized when my friend and a beautiful friendship resulted. From there the idea to return was born, but instead of returning as a tourist, she returned as a teacher. She assigned my friend the task of choosing a small group of friends who would be interested in learning her trade…I was one of the lucky chosen ones.
When the teacher arrived, with a lot of materials and white silk, the only thing she needed was a space. This is when our troubles began. We spoke with the authorities in our municipality and asked if they could provide a place for our workshops. When we explained what it involved and that it was completely free of charge, they accepted us.
The long-awaited day came and we went to the “House of Culture” carrying our materials and silk weaving panels with enthusiasm. Upon arriving to the location we were turned away because our teacher was foreign. Completely embarrassed, we called around to find someone who could help us. Finally, we found a dirty and practically abandoned location. We had to improvise tables and sit on boxes. Our teacher, who was 87-years-old (she celebrated her birthday while she was with us) adapted well without any complaints and introduced, with all the love that only a true teacher has, her beautiful world of silk.
Now, three years later, while travelling such great distances, she has returned to teach us the ins and outs of silk painting. This time we improvised our workshop in the garage of the building where I live. With her love and dedication she has marked a new silk road.
Translated by: Lita Q.
August 24, 2010