Perhaps the way we see the world depends on which lens we choose to look through.
For most of 2020 I’ve been observing my life through a telescope that’s blocked most of my peripheral vision but has allowed me to focus, with great clarity, on a particular part of my work.
You may know that I’ve been resistant to running my crochet courses online. One of my greatest concerns was that the projects would be reduced from a rich, and dynamic social activity, to a banal ‘click and download the information’ process.
The other thing that stopped me was fear.
Fear of getting it wrong, fear of not being good enough, fear of the unknown, and fear of those scary internet trolls.
But as one of those self employed freelancers who ‘fell through the net’ this year I really only had two options:
- Adapt and survive.
- ……well that really wasn’t an option at all.
So I pressed the buzzer on what’s turned out to be one of the most rewarding and enlightening decisions I’ve ever made.
An online, virtual, experience can never replace those valuable ‘real life’ interactions but I’m gradually learning that an online course doesn’t have to be a bland simulation of the ‘real thing’.
What I’ve learnt since launching my first online course in September, is that this way of delivering a project can bring it’s own methods, benefits and rewards that make it a different, but not a reduced experience.
The process of re-writing Homage to the (Granny) Square as an online crochet course has meant that I’ve looked at it again, and taken the time to think about what this course offers and how it’s particularly relevant in a new, locked down, world.
Previously, when this course was only available in real life questions could be asked and answered directly, in real time, and balls of yarn could be handled, passed round and examined in close proximity.
Conversations around the table would flow easily, often spilling over into broader and deeper subject matter; connections and friendships would be made as we spent time working on our projects together.
So in recent weeks I’ve spent time thinking carefully about how to generate a different type of experience.
One that’s informative and inspiring and in an online environment that’s supportive, sociable and safe.
It’s involved unpacking all the course contents, re-examining them and then re-presenting them in a digital format that combines instructional and motivational videos, written pattens and diagrams, live Zoom Q&A sessions and a dedicated, private Facebook page.
For me, this is a huge learning curve and I realise now, more than ever, that everyone doing this course is there for a different reason. Some are simply seeking the written facts, the patterns, the structure and the information; that’s all they need.
Some are enjoying the remote social activity, the support of others and a safe space to share work, discuss progress and make connections.
The live Q&A meet ups are an amazing opportunity to chat with likeminded people from all the world and, for those who want to, it’s a platform for ‘show and tell’ moments. There’s nothing quite like the admiring approval of others who understand how much time and effort you’ve put into your work.
And in our current, socially distanced, lives knowing that you can make new friends and share a meaningful experience with them is more valuable than it’s ever been.
I also understand that many people benefit from a slower, more private way of working and an online course can allow you to work quietly and at your own pace with no pressure to ‘keep up’ or show your work. Not everyone wants to ‘show and tell’ but just knowing that there are others ‘out there’ working on their own unique ‘Homage’ blanket can bring a sense of connectivity and community to a socially distanced life.
The creative act of bringing something into the world is different for all of us, and this course is very much about finding your own path;
‘Mastering your craft is about Mastering yourself’
The ‘way’ we work is as individual as our ‘self’. There’s no ‘right way’ to do it – only your way. And every project you work on will help you discover what ‘your way’ is.
I don’t have a magic key for unlocking your creativity, for most of us it’s simple; just do the work, but this project will support you as you do the work, and help you find a way of working that suits you.
A reality check means I no longer think of this as a Virtual Course, it’s as real as the people doing it, the beautiful textiles they’re creating and the connections we’re all making. For me ‘online’ has meant a deeper level of thinking and a closer attention to detail resulting in a different course, but one that is relevant and has currency as we find new ways of doing things.
Throughout December I’m sharing images of current students work in progress on my Instagram and Facebook pages – and here are some little vignettes to give you a peek inside the world of the Online Homage Course.
Hands on Colour Theory Workshops
Painting Colour Stories
Working with Mood Boards
Finding the Right Balance
Work in Progress
If you’d like to be a part of this course in 2021 subscriptions are open on my Patreon page throughout January, starting on January 1st.