Saturday, May 1, 2021

Zoom Zoom!


The information for the Ontario Handweavers conference is now available.  

With Covid continuing to be a problem, a number of in person events have pivoted to on line and a growing number of instructors are becoming quite comfortable with that method of teaching.  

It took me a long time to figure out how I might join in the effort to teach during this time of 'stay home if you possibly can'.  I looked around at what was available, what people were interested in and, most of all, what I was willing and able to do, by myself with minimum technology.

Jane Stafford, Tien Chiu and Daryl Lancaster had already been teaching on line for a while, had systems in place and were providing good content.  Long Thread Media had managed to obtain the DVDs that had been made over the years of Interweave Press and were running those as on line workshops.

It seemed to me that the basics were well covered.  

What was I known for?  What could I bring to the screen?  What skills did I already have that could be brought to Zoom effectively?  How could I convey what needed to be shown?  

Over the months of Covid management, many presenters have figured these things out for themselves and come up with creative ways to convey their lessons.  

Having made the decision to retire from teaching (other than Olds) I had pretty much ignored the efforts to go on line until my Olds students started to get anxious about all the cancellations.  So my effort then became to try to provide them with the course content I felt was most needed for people to 'master' the craft.  While I talk a little bit about things like shuttle handling, the emphasis is on the ergonomics of weaving - position and posture at the loom.  Why I prefer to hold the shuttle the way I do.  Suggestions on how to set up treadles to more efficiently (and hopefully more accurately) treadle.  

And so on.

But what I really wanted to present to these students was more of the underlying principles of the craft.  And the long form answers to the 'it depends' that gets trotted out to pretty much every weaving question.  Because it does!  Depend! 

Writing the Power Point presentations for the study groups has been a personal growth journey.  By collecting the information under the theme of the presentation, I have been able to start the slow process of putting the information together in a way that I hope the students find helpful, maybe even a little mind bending.  My goal is to provide a foundation of knowledge so that they can go on to make appropriate decisions regarding their own practice of the craft.  By understanding how their equipment works, they will be better able to adjust, or repair, their equipment when necessary.  Or push it beyond what it might most effectively do in order to achieve a special effect.

My Zoom presentations to the study groups take about 2 hours or so.  I can cut them a bit shorter, but they are information dense and could more comfortably be done in a 3 hour time slot which would allow for a 'comfort break' halfway through.

Right now my 2022 calendar is pretty open.  I am booking speakers for the Sunday Seminars with three already set up (Jan-Mar).  If a guild wants a 2-3 hour presentation on a weekend, It would be good to contact me now for availability.  Email is best laura at laurafry dot com  I will soon have 12 Power Point presentations that will be available.  I will put my thinking cap on and start doing a marketing blurb for each and post here in a day or two.

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