Online Beading Classes

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Have you thought about trying any online beading classes? Do you know what they involve? Would they be right for you? These are the questions I’ll be answering here today. So, you can decide if this is a good way to learn (and I think it is!)

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What are online beading classes?

I’m actually writing this in the middle of the lock-down caused by the global Coronavirus Pandemic. So, at the moment, we have online beading classes popping up all over the place. This should hardly come as a surprise. Beading shops are closed. Bead groups can’t meet in person. So, the beading community doesn’t have access to any of the ‘real’ classes that it previously enjoyed.

But, happily, we do have some amazing technology. So, roll on the virtual classes. Now, some of you might know, this isn’t a new thing. Even before lock-down it has been possible to take a class online.

So, how does it work? Basically, you have two possible models: a live class in real time, or a pre-recorded class that you can follow at your leisure. So, which is best?

Peyote stitch for beginners, online class, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Pre-recorded classes

This type of beading class takes place online in a special ‘beading school’. There are a number of companies providing ‘school’ environments for online classes across all kinds of subjects. So, things will vary slightly from platform to platform.

But, in general, you can expect to find the different elements of the class laid out for you to follow. You can work at your own pace, and in your own time. So, you’re not committed to doing something at a specific time.

The exact format of the class (just as with a real workshop), is down to the teacher.

But, in these online beading classes (click here to access them), you get the following:

  • A video welcome from your tutor
  • PDF tutorial to download – this gives you the full pattern instructions, as you would get in any workshop
  • Videos demonstrating the techniques you need to use. So, you get to watch the project coming together, just as in a real workshop
  • Comments boxes where you can ask questions, or get help when you get stuck
  • You can also use the comments to chat to other students, and share photos of your work

So, basically, this is exactly like a real workshop, but without the ‘live’ element.

Advanced beading class on Cubic Right Angle Weave, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Pros

What are the advantages of working like this?

  • You get to work from the comfort of your own home
  • Work at your own pace, so you can complete the class in one sitting, or in lots of short sessions, at any time of the day (or night!)
  • You still get access to personal help if you get stuck
  • It’s still possible to interact with and meet other beaders, in a virtual setting
Cons

How about the areas in which this might not be as good as a real beading class?

Well, that basically comes down to the actual contact. Because everyone is working in their own time, you won’t all be sitting and beading together. So, contact between students and teacher is delayed. It’s basically the difference between using email and picking up the phone, or doing a video call.

For some people, this is great. It takes off the pressure of ‘being there’. But if you want real interaction, or immediate help, it can feel a bit frustrating.

So, you decide. Is this format a good option for you? This link gives you access to a great range of online beading classes. You can try some out for free, so you get to discover whether you enjoy learning this way or not. If you do, then pick a project you will enjoy and get beading!

Beaded Box for healing, online beading class, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Live virtual classes

The lock-down has prompted a lot of beading designers to get creative. So, many have started teaching on platforms like Zoom or Facebook live. Some of these are paid classes, some are free bead-in sessions.

Unlike the pre-recorded classes in ‘schools’, there isn’t a single venue for discovering these. So, you will need to keep your eyes open and check out what your favourite designers are doing. I happen to know that Chloe Menage has been holding Zoom workshops. Erika Sandor has been doing some regular Friday morning coffee bead-ins. And I’m sure there are many other options. So, check out your favourite designers, or discover some new ones at this link.

How does the format of these classes compare to the pre-recorded class?

Well, a lot depends on the tutor. But the virtual platforms they are using do offer the ability to do beading demonstrations. They are also like being in a meeting. So, you all get to sit and bead together, and see and talk to one another.

As this is a live format, you would need to be available to join at a specific time. Potentially these classes can include beaders from all over the world, so watch out for the time differences!

Places are generally limited, so you would need to book and pay ahead of time.

Gerbera Beaded Necklace Online Beading Classes, Katie Dean, My World of Beads

Which class is best for you?

If you’re missing a bead group or class, then trying out an online beading class could be very good for you. Essentially, both classes offer you the same information, in terms of PDF download and video demonstrations.

So, the decision you’re making here is likely to be based around convenience and sociability. Do you want to ‘meet’ with other people while you are beading? Are you happy to block out a chunk of time to spend in a class? Or do you need a bit more flexibility?

Beyond that, your decision will most likely come down to cost and project. But that’s really no different to taking a real workshop.

So, if you don’t have the benefit of living near a bead shop or group, then a virtual class could be just what you need. I foresee these continuing on long after we have left lock-down.

Let me know your thoughts. Have you tried any online classes? How did you find them? What would you recommend to others? Just leave a comment down below.

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