09 Feb Possibilities revealed – has lockdown opened a new chapter for you too?
Doors slammed shut all around me when we were plunged into lockdown. Or that’s how it felt.
Galleries selling my work closed, and my workshops and art fairs were cancelled.
I was lucky enough to have wonderful, loyal customers, and did a happy dance each time a painting found a new home through my website.
But I missed teaching textile art.
I was reluctant to move my workshops online, but knew it was my only option if I wanted to continue the work I loved. Reading ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’ by Elizabeth Gilbert gave me the final push I needed. And magic is exactly what happened.
I discovered that workshops on Zoom worked, brilliantly.
There’s an intimacy that comes from seeing into each other’s homes. The edges of the screen seemed to disappear and we were together, teaching, learning and sharing textile art. We were socially connected.
Participants even told me that they carried on for hours once our session was finished.
Wow! There were so many people who wanted to make textile art, and who wanted to learn my style and techniques. And distance was no issue – suddenly the whole world was open to me. I was filled with excitement, and wanted to take things further, but wasn’t sure how.
When restrictions were briefly relaxed, I had the joy of running an in-person workshop. When it came to an end, I noticed that the women set up their own WhatsApp group so they could continue to talk textile art and send photos of their creations.
As I drove home, I could feel what needed to come next.
First I set up a Facebook group – Textile Mixed Media Art with Ellie Hipkin Artist. I watched as people joined from Europe, North America and Australia, as well as the UK, and saw them sharing ideas and giving encouragement. I loved it.
But the big idea, germinating in my mind, was to bring together online courses and tutorials with a membership community. Six months later, with the help of a small team, I launched Flourish Textile Art Hub.
www.flourish-hub.com gives you immediate access to easy-to-follow, pre-recorded textile art tutorials. You can also join an in-depth group course in abstract textile painting, or book a personalised one-to-one Zoom session with me.
In short, Flourish allows you to develop your textile art skills, at home, learning in whichever way suits you best.
But it’s more than that.
I know how many people benefit from regular creativity, but struggle to make time for it.
So the Flourish membership programme provides an easy way to commit to your creativity, and improve your wellbeing, with one manageable textile art project each month. It gives you the structure and motivation you need to carve out time for yourself, take projects to completion and enjoy the process.
Members get to share their work on our separate facebook group, which is also where I offer sketchbook prompts, mindset sessions and live demos. I also host Q&A coffee mornings via Zoom.
More than anything else, being a member of Flourish is a way to connect with likeminded people who share your love of textile art.
As life (hopefully!) gets back to normal, I will treasure the opportunity to teach textile art in person. But I will always be grateful to these strange times which have propelled me online, opening up new possibilities and connections.
The pandemic has, of course, brought unprecedented hardship and isolation.
But I hope that, somewhere along the way, you too have felt the glow of discovery.