I will be posting the second part of my previous post ‘So you think you’d like to be a model-maker?’ very soon. Apparently a number of people have found this useful so far, but the second part will be more so! In the meantime, and in between, I wanted to post the changes I’ve had to make in my Courses section, particularly the fact that I’m preparing my ‘Model-making Techniques Course’ to be delivered in real-time, online from January 2021 and thereafter probably once every month. In line with that shift, and also because I’m much better with Skype or Zoom than I was before, I also wanted to mention the Special ‘consultation’ sessions info I’ve attached to both the model-making and the mouldmaking/casting course pages. This is for the benefit of people who want to learn, but perhaps want something more specific, and don’t need to commit to a week-long course. It’s also for the benefit of people who have a particular technical problem which can’t be dealt with in ‘just a few’ words. I get so many technical enquiries, and I’m afraid it’s come to the point where it’s either this solution, or very regretfully deleting them.
So here’s my provisional account of the online course ..
Due to the continuing situation I’ve had to postpone all my studio courses until the future becomes more ‘foreseeable’. I’ve consulted what the other larger course providers in London (such as University of the Arts and City Lit) are guaranteeing in terms of safety and, the fact is, I can’t provide the same .. my studio room is not big enough for ‘1metre+’ distancing for example, whatever other precautions are taken. In short, it’s still too risky!
So I’m currently preparing a version of my ‘Model-making Techniques’ course to be delivered online. Yes, it’s a different experience from spending a week with others in a dedicated workspace, but I will be doing my best to make it feel as if you are!
For example it will all be real-time ..everything will be live, no recordings! The week will be the same 5-day block starting on the Monday at 10.00 am as it usually does, and each of the five days will end around 5.00 pm. It’s important to retain that kind of focus! The most important part is that I will be sending each confirmed participant a ‘Materials and Resources’ parcel containing almost all of the materials you’ll need for the week’s work (you’ll just have to get a few easy ones). You’ll need to have your own basic tools but I’ll be including in the parcel the special ones (such as specially made sanding tools) for you to keep, and they’ll be included in the price. The pack will also include all the worksheets and info handouts I’ve provided in the past. I’m very conscious of the fact that computer screens can become too cluttered if things like this are sent as files. My aim is to keep your visual connection with the group as clear as possible, especially at times when we can discuss things, and I will be consciously enabling those times throughout each of the days.
My teaching method will not have to change very much at all. We will be talking together, when I am introducing a subject or explaining an activity; at other times I will be demonstrating what to do using a ‘document camera’, which provides a very clear, well-lit and undistorted view (similar to the photo above). The third resource is screensharing photos of prepared examples and other visual references. The rest of the time .. the majority of it ..you will be working. I’ve still to explore how clearly or quickly I’ll be able to ‘look at’ what everybody’s doing all the time to offer feedback, but I’m sure this important aspect can be worked out for the best.
The course will cost less than the £330 it has been up to now .. I’m just not sure yet how much less! I’m assuming I can make it less because I can take a few more people than the 6 I’ve been limited to in my studio .. but on the other hand a ‘crowd’ no longer feels a ‘group’, so I’m guessing not more than 10. If you have the kind of internet connection which has usually given you a clear image and sound when using things like Zoom or Skype, then I’m assuming there’s no problem from your side. If you have your own second camera so that you can switch from yourself to your cutting mat .. that’s brilliant! (you can get them starting around £15 but a good one I’ve tried is the ‘Wansview 1080P Webcam with microphone’ currently £25 from Amazon).. but having one may not be essential. I’m not sure yet.
If anyone has concerns about the ‘technical’ aspects, I think it’s essential to organize some form of ‘rehearsal’ meet-up where everyone is present online, a week or so before the course is due to start, just for about half an hour .. both for your reassurance and mine.
I’m working on a new course description to send out, detailing what we will be doing throughout the week and finalising the cost, and the technical requirements etc. If you have any questions in the meantime, or would like me to send you the description directly once I have it, you’re welcome to email email@example.com
If you’re familiar with how the course was, i.e. if you’d asked me to send you the course description, here are the most significant changes I’ve had to make:
…. there will still be mouldmaking because I will be sending you the silicone rubber, but not casting because resin cannot be sent by regular post. I will however be talking about and demonstrating this clearly.
…. I’m still hoping there will be time for a proper demonstration of soldering, but I can’t judge yet how long things will generally take under the new circumstances. I’m hoping that some things could take less time, but I also have to allow for new levels of the ‘unforeseen’.
…. the ‘painting’ part will depend on what paints etc you have yourself. I will demonstrate different techniques, and you could choose to try them ‘then-and-there’ or later in your own time. I will give more guidance on this, including a ‘shopping list’ if you’d like it.
…. for ‘scenics’ i.e. plants, trees etc. I will just be outlining the possibilities, showing examples and demonstrating
But some things will actually be better!
I thought of this from the beginning, way back in January. Here was the chance to combine the best of good YouTube .. I have to emphasize ‘good’ .. with the opportunity to interact, to ask questions. I’ve always been conscious of the problems of teaching model-making even to a small group, when perhaps not everyone is able to see the examples really close-up at the right moments. Added to this, there’s the serious option of everyone receiving a full recording afterwards, perhaps of the entire week! I have to check on the technicalities of this, but I don’t see why it shouldn’t be possible?
Then you have to consider the money you will be saving, as well as the time saved from not having to travel each day. Accommodation in London is expensive and there’s always the risk you might end up somewhere you’re not comfortable with. Although it’s an ‘experience’, staying somewhere else always consumes a lot of extra time and money, just to ensure you’re eating the things you want to, for example.
I always encourage people to make their own records of what they’re doing, mainly to take process photos recording successive stages. This aspect will be easier and less intrusive under the ‘new’ conditions. You’ll be able to rehearse and control your own lighting, backgrounds and where you photograph from, for example.
I have albums of step-by-step photos but, as useful as they are, it’s often a hassle to show them properly in a workshop situation, even if there’s a large monitor standing by. By switching instantly to a ‘screensharing’ mode I can flip through them without any time wasted. If anyone has prior experience of this during an online meeting .. don’t worry, I will not be using PowerPoint!
I’ll add to this list when I discover more!