In the old days to talk about the battle of the classes meant the serfs versus the nobs...... then the middle class rose and we were all middle class!! For a while...now we're going back to serfs and nobs (them what have the loot!)....however, that's not what this post is about!
Instead, I'm reflecting upon a recent internet discussion on whether or not teaching art quilts is becoming less popular - or rather, whether taking such classes is becoming less popular. Last May I was at QSDS (Quilt Surface Design Symposium) - one of the very first of such venues started by Nancy Crow in the Art Quilt Year Dot. Back in those days you practically had to stand in line overnight a year before to get into a class. Therefore I was quite surprised to note that the week I was teaching there were only 5 classes, of which only two had actually "made" the other three had very limited enrollment and probably (I really don't know for sure but it was suggested on the contract) the three teachers of the small classes accepted a reduced fee. I also saw a similar thing at another classic venue later in the year.
There are a number of factors for this - most discussed already at length on the 'net....but one thing I think is that in so many ways we're now living our lives on the internet. Let's face it traveling is NO Fun. When I as a respectable prim old lady coming through the "pre-check" lane still have to put up with hands down my pants (I'm not kidding!), the under wiring of my bra thoroughly examined, the bandages on my broken ankle removed, my hands scoured for gun powder residue and my little "spot remover" pen taken away (!!), then you know it's getting bad. Furthermore, much of this is either unnecessary or ineffective or both.
So there's the discomfort, and the expense of the real classes. And the time involved - people say where are the young folk?? The poor sods are working every minute of the day, Americans work longer hours and take less time off than any other so-called civilized country!
Online classes, however, are burgeoning. They're inexpensive, do not require travel, or vacation time. You can "attend" whenever it suits you and they're surprisingly congenial. I've been teaching online now for several years, first with Quilt University and currently with www.academyofquilting.com and there are numerous other venues. I also have a year long master class involving monthly assignments and a lot of critiquing that I run myself.
I've discovered that I really think of the people in the classes - especially those who pop up again and again (thank you!) - as friends, I feel I know them. And they get to know each other. And it's lovely just to go online and see what everyone is doing...and they can ask and I can answer questions a lot more easily than in a Real classroom. And I believe in real (though short and to the point) critiques - this is how we learn. Because these are done on the internet, you can read and cogitate instead of having to react straight away as you would in a real life class. Much more comfortable, and more effective because you can think through the suggestions that are made.
So I don't think taking classes is becoming less popular - but WHERE they are taken has changed. In the same way that where we shop has changed, where we "borrow" our library books has changed.
And talking about online classes....I just happen to have one starting this Friday!!
It's called Inspired to Design and it's with academyofquilting.com. It's a really great intro to designing your own quilts based on photographs - your own - or others. I say others because I do not advocate simply copying a photo - not very creative and also there can be copyright problems. But using a photo as a starting point for a design, and then adding in what you feel you want to emphasize, is just fine. And creative. So, if you'd like to be Inspired to Design.....then check out the class!
I promise you won't need to get your underwires examined!!
And, if you have been, thanks for reading!! As always.....Elizabeth