Felicia's Notebook, SweetGeorgia

School of SweetGeorgia, a year after we started the journey

Felicia teaching dyeing techniques at the studio for the School of SweetGeorgia

Last May, I put the idea of the School of SweetGeorgia out into the universe by starting a Patreon campaign. Today on the vlog, I’m talking about the next evolution of the School of SweetGeorgia and what I’ve learned about making educational content in the past twelve months. Watch the video here »

 

As many of you know, if you have been following my Patreon campaign since last May when I announced the School of SweetGeorgia idea, I’ve been focused on building video-based educational content for the fibre arts this past year.

The journey has been exhilarating, challenging, and has pushed my abilities and boundaries beyond what I expected… It was moving into the unknown and I am so thankful and thrilled with what has come together over the past year. Within the past 12 months, with the encouragement and support of our patrons and the assistance of Leah Churchley, I managed to create three courses for the School of SweetGeorgia:

  • Colour Play (free 5-video workshop) to share basic colour theory concepts and help knitters choose colour combinations
  • Dyeing Intentional Colour (2-hour long course) to teach the fundamentals of dyeing solid-shade yarns with acid dyes
  • Dyeing Complex Colour (epic 5-hour long course) to expand into multicoloured, layered, glazed, splashy, and self-striping yarns

Since my early twenties, I’ve been a passionate student of still photography. It was the cornerstone of my blog content and sustained me all these years. Several years ago, I bumped up my skills by learning how to record and edit audio for our podcast. But in the past year, I’ve ramped up my knowledge base to understand and become more competent at video production and editing. And I’ve really faced my fears in stepping out from behind the camera to be in front of the camera. The only way to get better at something is to practice and do it as much as possible, and so I committed to producing a weekly vlog on YouTube to learn to get comfortable with being on camera.

I’ve also witnessed myself running in circles from insecurity, not knowing if things will work and trying to find the “best” way of doing things. And over the past year, I’ve come to see that there is no “best” way… and that “done is better than perfect”.

I’ve overscheduled myself and tried to produce more content, faster, when in reality I literally have 20 hours a week to write, create, shoot, edit, and administer the school content at the same time as I continue to have the same responsibilities to my team at SweetGeorgia in the creative direction, colour and product generation, and marketing side of things. At times, it’s been bonkers.

It’s my fault, of course, for believing that I could make a lifetime’s worth of educational content by myself, within a short period of time. And then I realized that this work is the work that I’ll be doing for the next five, ten, maybe fifteen years.

Teaching these fibre arts skills, sharing what I love and how I create, but mostly being the “tour guide” for knitters, weavers, spinners, and dyers. I’m the one who feels compelled to say “hey guys, look over here! there’s this most amazing colour that’s happening in this yarn…this fabric… this garment…”

What’s next for the School?

Well, it’s simple. I’m going to keep making content.

I’m going to keep making videos. But the change that I’m going to attempt over the next year is to make smaller workshops and courses so that they are more bite-sized and digestible. This will hopefully also make it faster and easier for me to produce and release. I feel strongly that if I managed to make a weekly video podcast on a consistent basis, that I can also make themed lessons on a more regular basis while also making larger courses on a quarterly or bi-annual basis.

Starting this September, my kids will be spending more time at school (sob… smile… sob…). Russell will be starting French immersion at kindergarten (which could be a crazy transition) and Nina will be starting 4-hour a day preschool. That means I might possibly have a few more hours in the week to be doing this content creation and work. I’ve already started daydreaming about what I’ll do during those extra morning hours…

There is plenty that I would like to build and grow for the School of SweetGeorgia. Perhaps we continue to house the epic multi-part courses on the current School of SweetGeorgia site (because the technology just WORKS and I don’t need to fuss with it), but then to transition our current patrons and supporters for Patreon to a separate “clubhouse”. Patreon was a way for us to get this project off the ground, but after a year, it’s time that we evolve and grow to our own space that will contain all the mid-sized tutorials, workshops, livestreams, and updates.

Our original founding patrons were fundamental in proving that this School can and should exist and I want to create something that is more than the course content. I want to create a space for our supporters to learn and share. We currently have a private Facebook group and a Slack community for our SOS students, but it would be great to have a centralized place to meet.

And finally, there’s one more piece to the puzzle. When I started the Taking Back Friday vlog it was all about focusing on taking the time to make things. Over the past several months, I’ve worked it out with my husband that I get Tuesday and Thursday evenings after 8 pm (when the kids go to bed) all to myself to do whatever I would like with that time… It was meant for weaving and making and puttering around the craft room attic. But instead, I use Tuesday evenings to catch up on email and Thursday evenings for editing the vlog. It’s ironic that in an attempt to take time for myself, I gave all those hours back to work. So, one of the things I want to do in the coming months is to start doing a livestream lunch hour “crafternoon” (maybe one Friday a month) where I invite our SOS members and supporters to my attic to hang out for an hour during lunch. I want to use that time specifically to make things… whether we hang out and I weave or spin or knit, I want to spend that one hour chatting with you guys and actually take back that time on Fridays.

There you have it. It’s been an evolution this past year, starting from zero and taking those first few shaky steps towards this School of SweetGeorgia idea. I’ve been challenged by not only creating valuable educational content but also with finding a way to honour and provide value to our most dedicated supporters. I feel like this is the way forward and I’m excited to share this continuing adventure with you.

Thank you to those of you who raised your hand, joined the Patreon, sponsored me, and wrote me emails to encourage me throughout this entire process.

Every day, I wake up excited about the vision of what can be done and still each night, I go to bed mentally working out how I can technically achieve what I’m seeking. A year after we started down this path, I am even more fired up and passionate about this project than ever.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to do this work that I love.

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