On June 18th (2021) I taught my first beadweaving workshop over the internet via Zoom. I had a lot of reservations about teaching over Zoom but through much encouragement from the Kalamazoo guild I decided to go for it. We don't learn new ways of doing things until we move forward and just do them, which is where I finally was at with teaching online. It's a really cool opportunity and I know weavers like Rebecca Mezoff have been teaching online for years.
Everyone can see on their screens what my hands are doing with the stitch. St. Petersburg Chain moves in a lot of different directions so being able to sit in one spot and keep doing the stitch for the students repetitively, or slowing it down when there were questions was awesome. In a live class I have to go to each person and show them, or gather everyone in and huddle and/or draw it on a white board. I usually do all of the above.
When everyone has the stitch/rhythm down I can move to showing them a piece I'm working on that has a variation of the stitch we're learning. I've never had the time or opportunity to do this in a class before. Everyone moves at different speeds so those who are moving fast can learn how I manipulate the stitch further while I can always jump back to the original sample piece to show the stitch again. This is pretty difficult to do in person.
On a personal level, I actually got a piece worked on and was able to finish the sample bracelet I made with the class all the way to the end where I could show how them how to add the loop and pearl closure. I usually am just doing this with each individual at the end of the class, sometimes running over time.
6 hours was perfect for this bracelet. We did 3 hours, an hour break and then another 3 hours.
My set up, laptop logged in, smartphone logged in
Not being able to see each student's work in person can be a problem when I need to figure out where the stitch is going awry. Holding beadwork up to the camera wasn't as bad as I thought it might be but I'm pretty hands-on when figuring out where someone is making a literal wrong turn in a stitch.
Advance preparation was very time-consuming. I really like to have a bunch of colors available to students to pick out in the class. Getting photos of bead options out to students to pick out with correct colors, the time I needed to place a bead order in the event everyone wanted more of a color than I had, prepping kits and mailing them is a lot more time than I suspected it would be. Everything worked out fine though so that was a relief.
I may need a new phone. This is just a personal con, but the camera on my phone has been weird about capturing photos and video with a choppy zoom function. We got through and maybe I was the only person who noticed but it's something I need to keep in mind for next time.
My finished bracelet, which will actually be perfect for the
All in all this was a much easier way to teach (I never thought I'd be admitting that a year ago) and I look forward to doing this again. I have a few things to get done around the house before I commit to more online workshops (today is replace the back storm door day) but keep an eye out for more workshops via my newsletter and social media! Or feel free to reach out to me in advance and I'll make sure I let you know when I'm getting students together for a class.