But first, a little background:
When I created my first online course, it was a direct consequence of the Covid pandemic and the cancellation of all my in-person workshops.
Online courses were something I’d longed to do for years, but I’d dithered and ducked the issue because it seemed such a huge leap, and such a massive change to my way of working. Not only did I not have the headspace to work it out, I didn’t have the guts. It’s amazing what adversity can prompt us to do.
Because the courses were born from circumstances, in an organic way, to make up for lost bookings and opportunities (for me and also the people who had booked) I didn’t take the time to work out exactly what I was doing or why! I just did the next thing that was in front of me. I’d been on CourseCraft for years, as it was free to use for playing around, so I didn’t need to find anywhere new to start out.
So, when CourseCraft announced their imminent closure, and I was forced to find an alternative, it was a massive shock. When I recovered from the initial panic, I took lots of advice, and in the end I chose Podia. You can find me over there right now.
So how is this about you?
The very first page I had to create on Podia is an introduction to me and my teaching: who am I, what am I doing – and mostly importantly, for whom! To answer those questions, I had to create what you could call a Mission Statement:
If you want to learn how to create the art you love,
grow and develop confidence in your skills,
and have fun along the way
You’re in the right place!
Wherever you are on your art journey, I’m here to help you unlock your creativity
through playful exploration, learning my processes,
and sharing my own creative challenges.
To craft it, I had to dig really deep into the Who, the What and the Why of what I’m doing.
Obviously, not everybody will want to take my courses. But the people who do, refuse (quite rightly) to be put in a box! There are people of all ages, and – not everyone is female. Some have experience in machine embroidery, some have none. Some are confident and happy to get stuck into anything new, some need more support. So I had to take a wild (educated?) guess.
First, I assumed that if people had found me, it’s because they like the art I make and share. I use a lot of colour, and my sewing machine. So if you take one of my courses, it’s because you want to learn how to create the art you love.
And because this is all about my courses, not my artwork, you’re interested because you want to grow and develop confidence in your skills.
Finally, there’s something about me that chimes with something about you.
I have high standards for my art, because I’m a perfectionist and an overthinker. But I’m also a contradiction: I don’t take things too seriously, can sometimes be a bit silly, and I’m definitely scattered. You know I’ve talked about imposter syndrome, creative block and decluttering. While you may not agree with me on everything, I’m guessing we have enough in common for you to at least tolerate me for the length of a course!
How am I doing so far?!
Textiles and machine embroidery in particular are the obvious boxes to tick here. But other people are teaching that, too. What makes my courses different? What can I teach you?
Well, there’s the technical know-how. I like to think I’m quite good. I was taught by a medal-winning tutor in a centre of excellence, so I had a good grounding. And my
perfectionism high standards. Probably learned at the same time, to be honest!
I’m also a qualified teacher, and from primary school classroom to machine embroidery evening classes, I’ve had a fair amount of experience of the sorts of things that people say and do, and things their machines do (or don’t do). Stitching through a finger? Foot pedal catching fire? Check. Upturning a bowl of papier maché paste over your head? Hmm, was that primary school or evening class?!
And – luckily – this isn’t school. We can loosen up a bit, make up the rules as we’re going along, and have fun! There are no forms to fill in, no assessments, and no note from your mum if you need to skip it for a bit. I’m happy to admit I don’t have all the answers, so playful exploration – and finding what works for you – is the name of the game.
Finally, I didn’t mention textiles or embroidery. There are other thoughts rattling around in my brain, that I’d like to develop to support your creativity, so I’ve deliberately kept it open to allow for that.
Why am I doing it? To pay the bills. Next question.
Seriously though, while this is a business, it’s a creative business. It’s nothing without you, my audience. And creating for you is why I do this. Yes it’s hard work, yes I have late nights typing away when I could be feet up watching telly. Yes to all that. But…
If you’ve ever taught anyone anything, you’ll know – the look on their face, the excitement and satisfaction they have when it all clicks, and they can do it – and the feeling you get when you see how they feel – it’s magic. It inspires me, and seeing what people create gives me a push to get back to my own work – every time.
Creating for you, sharing what I can do, helping you achieve what you want, helps me stay interested in my own art, and striving to achieve what I want. You also make me laugh (and cry, sometimes) and it’s been an honour and a privilege to teach so many people, and reach people in so many places around the world.
It’s not a one-way thing, and it’s definitely so much more than a transaction. If I wanted to sell widgets I’d make widgets. I teach because I love teaching you!
It’s not every day that you’ll find me quoting the Bible, but
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.1 Corinthians 13:1