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Joyce Brown :: Fibre Artist, Pattern Designer, Quilt Judge, and Teacher

Updated: Oct 24, 2021

Joyce Brown is a fibre artist with a passion for learning new techniques and utilizing them in her art. In her art-quilts and landscape-quilts she uses mixed media to design wall hangings, which she says, “Reflect my joy of life.”

Her work is often inspired by the culture and heritage of the different countries she’s visited on her travels. Mediums like Kenyan batiks, the silk paintings of India, and the beading of Cree Indians in northern Alberta all influence the art she makes.

She is also affected by what she finds closer to home, like the views of  the fields and mountains from her windows. “These,” she says, “provide me with a plethora of ideas. The wonder of colours, textures, and designs in the landscapes and art of the world truly motivates me.”

Joyce’s fibre art creations have been shown in High River and the surrounding Foothills. She has been in juried art shows and sold numerous pieces. She is also a Certified Quilting Judge in Canada. She teaches a variety of classes including wet felting, free motion quilting, beading, thread painting, and quilting. To learn more visit HERE

This week, we chatted to Joyce about teaching in the time of Covid. We hope you enjoy what she had to say.

How has the pandemic changed your teaching?

Up until a year ago I taught the traditional way with the students in the same room as myself and gathered around the table for instructions. When the pandemic started in March 2020, I began to teach a few easy classes over Zoom. I had to learn the technology of Zoom and help others navigate it. I got a Logitech webcam and demonstrated it on a screen, and instead of passing a sample around, I had to learn how to show close ups of it.

In the Fall 2020, restrictions started to lift and my classes changed to in-person and by Zoom. It wasn’t long before all classes had to go virtual. People needed to be able to review the demonstrations and be able to ask questions between classes as students weren’t set up to work during the Zoom classes.

Basically, my classes became more of a Powerpoint/discussion on Zoom. To give ongoing assistance I tried several platforms, settling on Google Classroom where I could upload videos, links, and documents. Students could upload pictures and ask questions to get ongoing help.

What have you found challenging? What has been rewarding?

The most challenging part has been finding a platform to load videos and other material that was easy for students to access and would work with weak wi-fi. I used to encourage people to take pictures or video to rewatch later, so I needed to learn how to create videos that students could review after the class but finding a program to share these with the students was challenging.

It was rewarding exploring different programs and finding what worked. Like all teachers, it is gratifying to see the students succeed with minimal obstacles.

An instructor in these times not only needs to teach their subject but also needs to be knowledgeable in computers and programs and be able to share that information.

I have been teaching an advanced quilting class for several years. This year I had so much extra time to prepare that I almost overwhelmed the students with 27 different projects in the half-year class. They have shared with me that they are excited with their finished projects. The videos and the online materials were instrumental in helping them achieve success.

Has the pandemic been rewarding for you creatively?

The pandemic has allowed me to spend more time in my home studio trying new techniques and creating new pieces. Videoing my work forced me to examine it closely and refine my techniques. As I learned how to film there were many retakes which meant starting a project over again. Virtual teaching, and the extra time the pandemic has brought with it, has allowed me to teach more classes than ever.

In addition to teaching, I have also had time to write some new patterns, create art pieces for shows, and take some classes. My work is available at an art gallery and a couple of markets so between my other projects I’ve created new items to sell.

What are you looking forward to in the next six months to the end of 2021?

First-off, spending time with my family and friends. It will be nice to have a more balanced life again.

More classes! I love teaching and it is exciting to get bookings for more classes with different organizations. Each class requires prepping and creating the videos. Teaching the same class over again allows me to re-examine the material and improve it where I can.

Parts of virtual teaching will be incorporated into my teaching style even when we can meet in person. Online classes offer so much more flexibility as people from other areas can join and still feel like part of the class, or if a snowstorm strikes the class can continue.

To learn more about Joyce’s workshops clink this LINK

Follow Joyce on FaceBook 

Thank you, Joyce for sharing your expertise with us.

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