The Potential of Quilting Workshops via Zoom

Recently, I randomly came across a local live quilting event on Eventbrite hosted by The Southern Maltings, a community space in Hertfordshire dedicated to making creative experiences and activities available to all.

Titled ‘A Beginners Guide To Patchwork’, it caught my attention and as it was due to stream live within in a couple of hours, I contacted the organiser directly to see if I could join and she managed to squeeze me in.

Fiona, the host and a chairperson at The Southern Maltings, has been instrumental in creating a programme during lockdown called The July Festival where people are able to attend a huge variety of art and craft classes and talks via zoom – for free. More details are available on their facebook page.

The class itself took the form of a sew along and you were able to gather the materials and tools listed before it started. In this case, some scrap strips of fabric, paper, ruler, pencil and sewing machine/needle and thread.

It turned out that the small block being created was foundation paper pieced. Not something I’d tried before, but am now keen to spend a bit more time learning about. Fiona took us all through the steps and those joining were able to ask questions, show progress etc. As with all Zoom calls, you had the option to be involved as much or as little as you wanted with video and audio settings. The workshop lasted about an hour, was really accessible and I thoroughly enjoyed this as a way of attending a class.

The whole thing got me thinking about the way lockdown and the surge in use of Zoom and other VC platforms have changed the way we join with others for our hobbies. Quilters always like to come together in person, be it at classes, workshops or their local guild, so recent times have naturally resulted in them taking to Zoom to best replicate these gatherings.

As it happens, when I came across this event, I’d been looking at the virtual workshops that are being made available as part if this years’ upcoming online version of The Festival Of Quilts – Beyond The Festival Of Quilts. More about that on a different post!

Whilst we can’t meet in person at shows at the moment, we can still sew along and get inspired by other crafters and artists via these online classes and workshops. It’s good for those of us attending – still involved, still learning, still part of the crafting community. It’s great for those giving the classes – promoting their business, product or increased awareness of their non-profit organisation.

What would have been an otherwise micro local event (and there were only 37 participants online) has the potential to go global with people from all over the world being able to access via Zoom. I just don’t think these events would have happened without the pandemic and lockdown (at least not at the scale and volume they have been).

What will be interesting to see is if they continue after we can go back to classes and shows as another way of enjoying our hobbies. I’m sure for those less able to attend in person due to health or proximity, they’d be hugely welcomed. How great it would be to attend a show that was hundreds of miles away or even in another country?! I’m already thinking of the virtual Quilt Con in 2021 here. It will be brilliant to attend in some form when there is little chance of dragging my family all the way to America for the sake of quilting!

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