I felt yesterday was quite a productive day. Although I didn’t get any drawing done, I was able to update the site and get the notifications out to the customers about the update and the new sales and such. I am really liking the new software for the site. It makes everything so easy and professional looking. I am now able to add images into the bulk emails I send out and even though I stick mostly to basic formatting, it allows endless possibilities so that I can make my notifications look pretty snazzy. It even inserts the logo from my site on the top of the email. That will help people to associate me with the site, I hope.
Technology is a wonderful thing. I think at how things have changed in just the past ten years and I am amazed at the power we have. The ‘toys’ that are in our own homes today are things that only a few years ago were only available to the most sophisticated or privileged ‘techies’. Now they are everyday things and easier than ever to use.
Just this morning I received a message from a customer who had a questions (In French!). At first I thought it was spam, but I kind of sort of understood some of it and thought it was worth some further investigation. So I went to Google Translate and dropped it in and viola! (that’s French!) it worked! I thought of Dennis who translates just about everything on this site and the thought of that alone is mind boggling! In any case, I was able to at least give somewhat of an answer to the customer this morning. I just typed in English and it translated to French for me. I am sure that all the grammar isn’t as proper as it can be, but at least they should be able to understand it. We will see.
I also figured out something quite exciting the other day. It seems my two year old camera has the ability to take videos. Now, I am not talking about shooting “Gone With the Wind” or anything like that, but just some short video clips up to fifteen minutes in length depending on the quality I choose. When I saw that, the little light bulb went off in my head. Many people have been asking me to do videos on both scroll sawing and painting techniques and I want to help them out, but purchasing a video camera just isn’t in the cards for me financially right now. I am just getting my head above water and really need to watch every penny. But the other day, I tried a couple of short videos (starring my three kitties!) and I was amazed at how good they looked. Even the sound was very acceptable without the use of an additional microphone. What a wonderful discovery!
So now my head is spinning with all the video shorts I will be doing and offering on my site. There are many people interested in the skating pond set that are afraid to pick up a paint brush and I feel if I can show them how easy it is to accomplish, perhaps they will give painting a try.
Also, there are many things that I can teach with scroll sawing that are better shown than talked about and I can start a little series there to get people going.
And the best part of it all is that the new site has massive capacity and also video capacity so I should be able to upload them right there for people to watch. (Oh, so cool!) Can you tell I am excited?
I attended a “live” painting class online last night at www.toletown.com. I wanted to see how things would work because I have never done that before. The cost was minimal and we receive the full pattern for the piece when the class was done, so there was little risk. One of my favorite designers was giving the class and I wanted to experience seeing how things were done.
I think the live video class has a good place for those who want to learn, but it wasn’t really for me. We were given prep instructions to prepare the background for the piece ahead of time. The prep included three videos showing the teacher explaining the techniques and we were able to paint right along with her. That part I loved. I thought that for someone who was learning that it would be a wonderful way to understand techniques and accomplish the painting.
However, in the actual live class, it was more or less a chatroom. The teacher came in at the designated time and we got moving from there. There were about 30 students in there and prior to the class, we were naturally instructed to keep the ‘chat’ to questions pertaining to the project. The teacher went through the steps one at a time and asked about questions, and there were occasionally some asked. For the most part, we were walked through the pattern and then able to click on photographs on the side bar which corresponded to the given steps.
It was nice to know that the teacher was there ‘live’ to answer questions, but I found that it was quite different from what I expected. The preparation videos I felt much better conveyed the process than just the written instructions. I don’t know if I expected the entire class to be a video, but I found myself wandering off to other tabs and coming back to see what was going on. The class lasted a couple of hours and I last left off when they were on a three minute break.
For myself, I feel that the written instructions with the photographs were just as good as the live class without the pressure. Again I am only speaking for myself, but if I were new to painting, I would be afraid to ask (type) a question and hold up 30 or so people at risk of appearing stupid. I saw that there were some questions asked, and I was happy for that, but I don’t know if I would be able to do that. It is just me.
I think for myself a better approach would be to show the basic techniques and then offer a good patterns with some step by step photos which progressed along with the instructions. That way people could do things at their own comfortable pace. Or else they could do as I did and watch the class and then go back and try the project on their own with a better understanding.
I suppose it is like comparing apples and oranges. Different people learn differently and I do think it is a good option for many to learn in this way. The site is wonderful and the teacher did a great job. There are also a load of videos of previous classes and techniques you can access with your membership there. I do recommend it to those who are interested in learning to paint.
I want to get back to drawing today, as I have some more trays in the works. I received my latest issues of Creative Woodworks and Crafts and the small fretwork dresser tray was in it. They did a nice job of showing it off and I really like the presentation.
|From Magazine Publications|
I remember doing that project just when I joined here at Lumberjocks, back in late May. Time sure flies, doesn’t it?
It seems again like I haven’t been at the scroll saw for quite a while. There are so many other aspects that have been calling me away from it and I can’t wait to get back to cutting. I hope to have a couple of new projects to show by the end of the week. I want to use my new wood!
Have a great Wednesday!
-- Contributing Editor, Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine, If you like reading my blog, come visit at Sheila Landry Designs http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com "Knowledge is Power"