For many of us in the United States, we’ve been swamped with digital connection during the last two weeks. Those who are working from home have had endless Zoom meetings and webinars. All of the fiber folks I know have stepped up to offer online teaching, digital yarn shows, and video meetups. So many museums, artists, databases, libraries and more have all opened up their digital collections for free access. Those with children are having to home school from a digital platform, too.
It might seem strange that I, someone who promotes digital connectivity for fiber arts, have posted no videos and offered no meetups. Believe it or not, it is rather quite intentional. More is not always better. Sometimes promoting online community isn’t about creating your own brand and your own content. Digital community isn’t about trying to rally your small group of people around you. That’s rather vain, don’t you think?
Instead, now that we’re all settling into this new digital experience, please consider checking out these other resources that are already doing a fantastic job of providing content and gathering people together.
Spin-Off is more than a magazine. Long Thread Media offers a lot of free articles, videos, and resources online if you check out their blog.
Perhaps an obvious resource for many, but Hangouts has some solid tools for connecting. You can create group chats which can then be turned into group video conferences. Up to 15 users can be in a video conference at a time. If you think you’d have more than that, Zoom is your next best bet. You can have up to 100 users in a Zoom meeting. The free version limits meetings to 40 minutes, but it may be worth investing in for a month if you have a large group.
Knitty is an online magazine which offers patterns free for personal use. They’ve been in production since the early 2000s and have got a really great backlog of patterns and they are worth checking out.
While I haven’t live-streamed for a while, Twitch is a great platform to check out. Traditionally a video streaming service focused on online gamers, Twitch does have a section dedicated to crafting and art. It is a great place to connect, not only with fiber artists, but with people practicing other creative skills.
To keep from overwhelming you, I think that’s a good place to stop for today. You are likely already facing a barrage of digital options and you might not know where to start. Just remember, you don’t have to watch every video. You don’t have to join every chat. Take time to digest content and take time to step away from it all together.