Jill Smith’s new website

Jill Smith has a new website.  Make sure you put your sunglasses on before visiting it, because it is very bright!

She is still doing her online workshops and she says that if you tell her when you book that you read about it on my blog you can have 10% off the price. 

SEO and html online courses

One reason I have been quiet over the last couple of weeks is because I have been taking a course in Search Engine Optimization and website marketing – a free course! – run by Cricket Bailey and that led me to another related course on html and css.

Search engine optimization is how to write your website code and content in order to improve your ratings on Google and other search engines – in other words, how to improve your chances of people finding you! This course has been teaching me lots of new things… it has also made me realise that I need to rewrite a lot of my website content and code so I’ve joined another of the related groups to get to grips more with html and css.

In case anyone else is interested, they are starting another rerun of the courses on January 6th. You have to join at least two Yahoo groups and fill various forms in to register correctly and I found this a bit of a kerfuffle to start with, but it has been worth it! Once you have joined, you can stay with the classes as many times as you like – they encourage you to work on one webpage at a time.

If you want to do the courses, you have to register with them and follow the links to join the relevant Yahoo groups.

Online Courses 7: Other related courses

Phew! I think this series is drawing to an end now…

Mags of Digital Gran is currently doing a course with Rosemary Muntus of The Crafty Computer. Rosemary runs courses on designing with paint and drawing programmes on the computer, and I think we can see the results in Mags’ photos on her blog! She also runs a course called websites for beginners. Like many of the other online course websites, there is a gallery on her site so you can see what is involved.

Not strictly an online course but more of a quarterly workshop zine, is Workshop on the Web run by Maggie Grey, a prominent UK embroiderer. You pay an annual subscription, which currently is £15.50 and you get a password each quarter to access the site. It is brilliant if you want to keep up to date with the latest techniques and is like having a short workshop on lots of different things each quarter, by different people. There are also articles and interviews. They have a taster issue on their site so you can see what it’s about. It is worth poking round their site because they have current exhibition reports and lots of colourful advertisements for traders, all of which can be accessed free – useful if you want to buy something and don’t know where to get it from.

Jane Dunnewold also has a ‘zine’ called Art Cloth Quarterly which I think is similar to Workshop on the Web but focussed on surface design. There is a sample on her site. It is $28.00 a year.

This series wouldn’t be complete without mentioning a few free courses which I have found or heard about over the years.

One of these is HP Learning Center. I have done a few of their courses and have found them as good as the paid ones. Theirs are computer-related or business orientated and include courses on how to use Microsoft Word, Power Point etc. I have done a ‘Build your first website’ course which is a good basic introduction to html. You sign up and are sent a link to each lesson twice a week. There is usually an assignment to do based on the lesson and there is also a discussion forum where you can post any questions, like other courses.

Another site with free online courses, which I haven’t personally tried, is Barnes and Noble University. This has more general interest courses. They also have online reading groups.

A more art-related course you can do online is the Tate’s Introduction to Modern and Contemporary Art. Level 1 is free and Level 2 is £195.

Well, that just about winds up my series on online courses. If you know of any more, either free or paid for, do let me know and I’ll add them!

I have started a category called Online Courses and have put all this series in them, so if you’re looking for them in future, that’s where they’ll be!

Online Courses 6: The Thread Studio

Dale Rollerson of The Thread Studio in Australia runs a course called Playways as a result of being asked to do workshops in more countries than she had time to do! Currently she has students enrolled from Australia, NZ, USA, Canada, UK, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa…

The course consists of 5 modules. Here is an extract from the letter Dale sends out with the information, as it is not all on her website:

In addition to creating surfaces, there will be ideas for colouring, texturing, slashing, layering, burning, and three-dimensional constructions, and plenty of hand and machine stitching.

Each course module can be completed at the student’s own pace, but, as each builds on work previously completed, modules must be taken in sequence. All work will come to me by post for detailed assessment on an individual basis. There will be no marking system as such, just (I hope) helpful comments and ideas for progression. A certificate will be issued at the end of the course.

The 5 basic modules will be

  1. Starting Simple
    Colour on paper and fabric; using lines as a design inspiration for hand and machine stitching.
  2. Lacey Stuff
    Colour and stitching on a variety of soluble fabrics plus burning, bonding, distressing and distorting
  3. Layers of Pattern
    Building up layers and layers of exotic patterns using mixed media and stitching including motifs and slips
  4. Crusty Surfaces
    Mixed media, wire, bead creation, hand and machine stitching to create crusty surfaces
  5. Fragments, frescoes and a bit of tarnish
    A complete exploration of distressed surfaces and fragments of the past

While working through the 5 modules, I hope that students will produce at least 2 completed projects such as a panel, 3 dimensional item, an accessory, a book cover etc. Students should produce a folder of designs and samples for their own future reference.

The cost will be $130AUS (plus GST for Australia only) per module, to include all return postage, a linked website and individual assessments. Payment can be made by Visa, Mastercard, Bankcard or cheque in Australian dollars. You pay for each module as you go.

Each module will come in a spiral bound printed format and additional materials will be available on a password controlled website where we will also post student’s work. There will also be a discussion list for student interaction.

Students send work in to Dale and she puts photos in the gallery. She also organises postcard and ATC exchanges amongst her students. The next intake is in July 2006, so you’ve got a couple of months to make up your mind!!

Dale also runs two single workshops called Playdays – Frescoes and Crusty Surfaces. All the information on these are online.

Dale Rollerson's Fresco piece, Pietrafitta
This is a photo of her work for the Frescoes course, called Pietrafitta.

Dale Rollerson's Crusty Surfaces piece -Hundertwasser House
This is a photo of her work for the Crusty Surfaces one, called Hundertwasser House.