There can be no doubt that the past few months during the pandemic have been challenging in so many ways, for so many people. The effect on small businesses, like mine has been catastrophic. I have not been able to work since March. Those of you who know me will know that my teaching is very hands-on so teaching at a two metre distance was never going to work, especially in my cosy barn! I could have promoted my online store much more than I did but that would have resulted in trips out to the Post Office, which I decided had to be kept to a minimum.
As well as the obvious financial implications I have been surprised at just how much I have missed my spinning community. I did actually make the decision to embrace the lock down situation and take some much needed time for myself to reflect on my business and on life in general, which I expect many of you did too. As most of you will know, I am passionate about teaching the craft of hand spinning and part of that is meeting so many wonderful people, many of whom I am delighted to count as friends. And it is that style of teaching which has brought me to a bit of a quandary.
Part of my reflection time has presented the opportunity to consider the way in which I teach. Times are most definitely changing, in fact they have probably changed already, and I have to find ways forward to safeguard my future business and embrace how the world is developing. I have been very reluctant to venture into the world of online courses in the past but I have recently given this a lot of consideration and conducted a lot of research. In other areas of my life I have undertaken numerous online courses ranging from little how-to courses up to my degree with the OU so I know they work. However, how does one deliver a course that is so hands on? Spinning is about how it feels and sounds. It makes my soul sing, particularly when I see that penny drop for so many people. How can that be replicated online?
My other consideration and motivation has been that I have had to cancel and decline so many workshops in the past months that I know I have to find a way of sharing this craft with as many people as I can in a way that suits them best. Spinning has given me some wonderful solace recently (even sitting beside my barn at 4am to witness the solstice!) and I know that if that is important to me then it will be so beneficial to so many others. Lock down has given us unintentional time to reflect and find new coping strategies to enable us to cope with the difficult times we have been forced to accept and I have been amazed at the social media posts that have been shared to show the most incredible creations that have helped people through. And that is also true of the online support many of us have experienced too in such potentially lonely times, such is the world of crafters.
So for the exciting news! .........................Here goes!!
I shall be launching my very own online course by the Autumn. I am in the process of creating it, which although such fun is incredibly hard work. (It is also proving very costly!) I believe that I have found a way to produce it that will be informative, supportive and fun. I want it to feel like I am still there holding the 'student's' hand along the way and celebrating their success at the end. I shall be devising ways of personally supporting students in their learning in ways that will suit the individual. I will not leave anyone to flounder along the way as that would result in the individual not enjoying the process and ultimately not spinning - and that just will not do! It will support the student in a very step-by-step approach in a methodical way to really instil the basics of hand spinning to be able to produce that previously elusive yarn. I do also have plans for shorter, more specialised courses but that's for another day.....
My hands-on workshops will continue but I am very aware that we all prefer to learn in different ways and an online course is a fantastic alternative. It gives the opportunity to watch as many times as necessary to aid understanding and enables the student to work at a pace that suits their lifestyle and time commitments. One of the other considerations for me is that the platform that I currently use to advertise my courses is planning to make a substantial change to their pricing system which may of course incur additional charges for my workshops which upsets me greatly but I have to put my business head on occasionally!
I believe that the course will make a fabulous reminder resource for anybody who has attended a workshop previously as it will take the same format. I shall of course be offering a considerable discount for previous students to purchase the online course and for an initial period after launching. Gosh I sound like a cruise liner!!!!!!!
I hope that you find this news as exciting as I do and if you have any suggestions or comments I would love to hear them. I shall be looking for a couple of guinea pigs to test the course for me before it goes live so put those hands up if you would like to be involved!
So I do hope that you all continue to stay well, happy and inspired to craft and look forward to hearing form, and seeing you all very soon.
Lots of love Theresa xx