Who are the teachers of Syrendell Summer Camp 2017? They are individuals who are passionate about their craft and happy to share the joy!
Meet Jennifer Tan, our handwork teacher and camp co-director.
1) Where were you born and where did you live as a kid?
I was born in the San Fernando Valley, but my family decided to leave city life for the small mountain town of Chester, CA, on Lake Almanor, where I spent most of my childhood.
2) What did you like to do as a kid?
I loved unicorns and the Greek myths, so my Barbies and stuffed animals often became characters in my imagined world of the gods and goddesses. I enjoyed playing the flute - I still do.
3) Who were one of your heroes growing up and why?
I have always admired Deborah Sampson. I remember reading about her and how she fought in the American Revolutionary War disguised as a man! She is one of a very few women who actually experienced military combat in the 18th century. Another hero of mine is Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, harvest, the seasons, and the cycle of life and death.
4) What/who motivated you to become a teacher?
My first teaching post was as a middle school band teacher. I've always wanted to make a difference in the education of our children. So I decided I could make a larger impact as a school administrator, and I worked as a vice principal and principal for a school of over 1000 students, serving the faculty so they can make a difference in their classrooms. Leaving that behind years ago, now I simply love teaching children and adults the crafty things I enjoy!
5) What inspires you to be creative?
The fiber crafts - handwork - is such a fascinating form of art. It is a fusion of function and form, arising from our need for clothing and textiles. I think what draws me to it is that you can make something beautiful and it is also something you can use. For me, I love the problem-solving aspect of it, there are strict rhythms and patterns and yet there is a thrilling uncertainty of working with nature's resources.
6) Do you have a pet? What is its name?
My family has a cat named George and a rabbit named Bun-Bun. It's fun to see them in the backyard hanging out while we do some yard work.
7) What is one of your favorite foods?
I really like Mexican food - one of my favorites is a vegetarian burrito. Hold the mushrooms!
8) If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
I would be like secret agent Sydney Bristow from the TV series Alias. Her character verges on superhero - she speaks multiple languages, very fashionable even when fighting the bad guys, and is super intelligent. But instead of guns, I would be toting crochet hooks and knitting needles!
9) Why do you want to teach at Syrendell Summer Camp?
Syrendell Summer Camp is a dream come true. As program director and teacher, I so cherish the administrative and creative autonomy to be responsive and sensitive to the children, the community, the culture. And I get to share this philosophy with like-minded individuals such as my husband Rick, and the other members of the team.