I turned the page of my calendar and I realized February has slipped away.
In two weeks, it will be a full year of isolation. I have recently returned to entering juried exhibitions. Venues are planning moving online exhibitions back to in person events this year and next. Other aspects of my art life will return to normal. I’ll be taking a workshop in Lake Tahoe in the fall. I am thinking about going to Houston for the quilt festival . My guild will be added to monthly events. Like most people, I look forward to life without the shadow of a pandemic.
Other parts of my life have been transformed. No longer am I teaching in person. Instead I reached out to the growing online communities of art quilters. I created two online courses. In the last two months I have lectured via Zoom three times and helped two fellow art quilters through an online coaching session. My social media presence is growing on Facebook and Instagram. I am dreaming of new avenues to explore in this post pandemic world.
One of these avenues is filming my process. Luckily as a creative person, I am not afraid of learning by doing and have been spending hours figuring out lighting, editing and creating files that can be uploaded in the correct format. I added a heavy duty tripod to my studio in order to use my camera in movie mode. The camera is currently directly above my work surface. As I work the camera captures more of the process than words could describe. I am liking the results.
As a retired teacher, I had my doubts about teaching without human contact. What turned my thinking around was taking some courses from quality teachers and reaching out to other artists teaching online. What I learned was the content doesn’t change, but the tools of instruction are different. A good teacher has mastered those tools and has matched content with the appropriate tool.
There are lots of methods for presentation online. Some learners are most comfortable with a combination of words spoken, written text and a visuals. Others may want to separate the visual from the written or spoken instructions. A smaller number want a very brief overview and then dive into making. This group often uses their mistakes as a form of learning. (I am in this group.) The teacher needs to create and deliver content in written, verbal and visual formats.
Online instruction gives each learner an opportunity to decide how they want their material delivered. The learner is in charge. This is why quality courses have handouts, verbal directions, slides with summary concepts presented in words and pictures; and video. My students can look at the video and ignore the handout. They can carefully read the handout, then watch the presentation three times before making anything.
My next course on painting on fabric for the art quilter should be out on or before mid March. I have experienced the ups and downs of learning how to segment instruction so that it makes sense and (the hardest part) can be uploaded smoothly onto the Teachable platform. I had to overcome the shock of seeing hands that looked like my mothers. Too much sun and too much work in the garden is showing up on film. The challenges have been worth the struggles.
I hope to continue to share what I do and encourage others far and wide to create and learn.
Until Next Time.....