I am back from a fantastic time in Galicia, Spain. I have lots of pictures and some very interesting things to share which will take several posts so I'll start with the thing that paid for the trip which was teaching on a short course on internet marketing for craftspeople.
This is Cristosend Galicia home of Lluis and Anna who organised the course. Their home is the far right building in the photo.
We took over Lluis's basement workshop for the course, it is an old wine cellar dug into the bedrock full of collections of traditional basketry which Lluis uses as his inspiration. I love the clash of technologies, on one side of the room a woven rush rain coat very similar to that worn by Oetzi the iceman and on the other a computer and projector and folk talking about internet marketing. Bronze age meets 21st century.
We did not know the background of the course participants and I was expecting primarily traditional craftspeople but most were contemporary makers who already had websites so we adjusted the content as we went along. It is surprising to me how many people have websites supposedly set up to market their work yet they do not have specific pieces with dimensions, prices and postage costs. Without these basics it is very difficult to buy anything. Even if only one or two pieces have full details it gives us an impression of whether we can afford the work on the site or not.
I talked about my experiences selling over the web, it really would have been better if Nicola had been there as she created my website 12 years ago and keeps it working and up to date as well as doing all the youtube videos and setting me off blogging. Martin provided technical input on how to optimise web presence, all the more impressive was the fact he did so in his third language.
To get the best out of this sort of event you need short bursts of screen watching interspersed with plenty of opportunity to chat and discuss. The lovely informal atmosphere and communal eating worked well.
We broke up regularly for tea and local wine.
I think we could tell how much folk were getting out from the level of animated talk all the time, though to be honest I am not sure what they were talking about.
One of the things that was not planned but everyone asked about was help with craft photography for the web. We set up a range fo craft objects and took a range fo snaps to show the effect of different lighting. First we photographed them outside in direct sun with the sun from behind the camera and then coming from the side. These images were very harsh. Then we moved indoors and set up close to a window but not in direct sunlight, images with light from behind the camera tend to apear flat, light from the side gives shadow and three dimensions. Then we added a reflector (a big sheet of white card) to shine a little light on the left hand side and fill the shadow a little. Finally because we are now working in comparatively low light, the cameras auto settings will choose a slow shutter speed and we may suffer from camera shake giving a blurred image. The ideal would be a tripod but we held the camera firmly stabilising it by resting it on the back of a chair. The images were not perfect but usable and people seemed to find it a useful process.