In the face of COVID-19, my teaching schedule tanked. Facing March and April classes that had already been scheduled and booked, I turned the loss into an opportunity, transforming the materials into kits and the instruction time into recorded tutorials. This allowed me to launch seven new needle felting kits with accompanying video instruction, which were duly mailed to students. And while creating kits is a time-consuming process, it’s work that can be mined again and again to facilitate projects and learning.
With the creation of our farm’s e-store mid-March, the new felting kits now have a way to be seen and ordered, and they’ve proved an indispensable part of launching offering Zoom classes in partnership with North House Folk School. I mail kits ahead of time to enrolled students, so they have all the materials they need. The video instruction provides an excellent backup plan in case Zoom isn’t working well for a student or as a post-class refresher. Most of the kits have materials enough for two projects, one to make in class and one for repetition and perfecting the process.
While it is not the same as having all the students sitting around the big table in Farmstead’s Fiber Loft, it’s been great to see faces, share stories, and learn together after 3 1/2 months of hiatus. I’ll never tire of the enthusiasm shared when a student celebrates the completion of their project. “I did it!” is the cry of joy, “and it actually turned out!” It makes slogging through the inevitable “this is never going to work” phase of creativity so worth the effort.
In this post, I wanted to share some of that student joy with you, including pictures they’ve shared with me of their pieces.
“We just have so much fun with this,” Sue shared after our Zoom session with her sister Barb. Barb and Sue have been exceptional guinea pigs for me through this process, trying out projects and methods before they “go live” in bigger class settings. “We really miss classes, but this is great, and we still get to make stuff with you!”
Rachelle wrote today, “I attached the photo–it was a lot of fun and with your video it was easy to follow along and get good results! Considering this was the first time I have tried this I think he turned out great. Can’t wait to try more. I am excited for the gnomes, pumpkins, santas to come in the future too!”
And there IS more planned in the works. Currently, my proposal is submitted to North House Folk School for Zoom classes held in September and October, with beginning needle felting projects as well as a couple intermediate level pieces. Watch for the release of these for enrollment soon! Don’t wait to long–word is getting around and they have been filling up. Keep an eye on my classes via my instructor page on their site.
Here are some pictures to showcase what’s coming up, including a few favorite repeats as well as a host of projects that will mean creating new kits! These will be made live on our farm’s e-store as soon as they’re ready, so you can watch for them there or check out what’s currently available. In times like these, it’s critical to have a way to channel our frustrations and distress, and I can hardly think of a better outlet than repeatedly stabbing wool with a pointed tool to create adorable critters!
I’ve started my online teaching with needle felting because it’s low on infrastructure (all students really need is a table and good lighting) and great for all skill and experience levels. In November, I’m planning to launch my first Celtic Cable Crochet class (details coming soon!) and expand from there. Is there something you’d love to learn from me on Zoom? Is there a project you really wish was a kit? Please use the Contact Page to reach out and let me know, or send a message to the Erindale Facebook page. Keep on creating everyone!