Wed. Dec 11th, 2019

Take your eyes off the mobile and learn to do something with your hands | Economy

A couple of courses on-line they were the turning point for Ana Sola to leave her job and start to start. This illustrator, who worked wearing the presence digital from a small company, he learned the laborious technique of carving stamps through a screen; today he has his own business, in which he creates personalized drawings that he then carves with care on the rubber. Your case is an example of how craft and the crafts are gaining ground in a world, the Internet and social networks, apparently antagonistic. Large platforms but also small academies offer training on-line in a host of manual skills, with the common thread of creativity. And they have more and more students Some simply aim to disconnect and others to invent a new professional life.

The Web Domestika, the largest repository in Spanish of online courses to exercise creativity, is a trunk full of pills with which to learn the most unlikely techniques. But next to skills increasingly valued by the push of the digital, such as video or 3D, there are several chapters dedicated to much more traditional disciplines that require taking off the look of the screen and moving your hands. Illustration, calligraphy and techniques craft they dispute the protagonism to the umpteenth course on how to master Photoshop. A) Yes, a workshop to paint with thread accumulates more than 4,500 students, another initiation to embroidery has almost 6,500 students and a course of lettering It boasts of having taught 7,000 people the secrets of this technique that devastates Instagram.

The potter Paula Casella, Argentinean living in Madrid for almost two decades and creator of the organic ceramic brand BambucitoHe had done several of those workshops when he decided to send an email to the platform to propose them to create a basic course on ceramics. In 21 lessons and almost four hours, he explains step by step how to learn to work with clay from scratch and at home. In less than two months he has achieved more than 500 students, a dizzying figure if he compares it with the ten people who usually attend the face-to-face workshops he teaches at the City Hall.

"People think that it does not work, that it is not creative … but they do not understand that creativity is learned. If you wake up what you have inside is possible, but for that you have to teach and guide, "says Casella, who already has ideas for three other workshops on-line. Precisely creativity emerges as one of the most effective vaccines against the dreaded automation. The World Economic Forum predicts that by 2020 it will be the third most demanded skill by companies. And LinkedIn, the social network of employment, has already placed it as the most desired quality in the workplace for this year.

"Creativity is no longer something that belongs only to what we know as the creative industries, but it can consist, for example, in proposing new strategies for your business. And the development of that creative side is important, regardless of the sector in which you work ", says Diego Olcese, co-founder of the start-up Peruvian Crehana, a platform that offers training on-line to develop creative skills.

With 850,000 students and 450 courses, they are mainly aimed at freelance and entrepreneurs, but also to employees who want to start their own business. And although interest in purely digital skills predominates, craft and the artisanal also have their own space. "The 360º exploration of our skills is the key to finding a sector that makes us fall in love and that is also what creativity gives us," says Olcese.

Alongside these platforms, with powerful business plans behind, there have also been small personal projects that offer training on-line by the hand of artisans and creatives – for this is an overwhelmingly feminine terrain, both in the teaching and in the student's part – that reveal the secrets of their technique from the other side of the screen.

The potter Paula Casella, in a moment of his course 'online'.

The potter Paula Casella, in a moment of his course 'online'.

It is the case of Beehive Craft, which first emerged as a craft shop to end up germinating in an academy on-line of craft courses. "I had always been uneasy about doing things by hand. I worked in a hospital, there was a reduction in the workforce and I was left without a job, so I started the project to convert hobby in a job ", explains its founder, Ana García.

Her academy started two years ago and now she has a whole staff of artisans and creators who act as teachers to share her skills with the world. This is where Ana Sola began to learn to carve stamps, an increasingly popular discipline. But neither learning nor teaching a manual technique is easy when there is a screen in between. "It is very important to know the teacher well because not everyone knows how to teach workshops, nor do on-line", Says Sola. They need, he says, very elaborate explanations and encapsulated in long videos so you can learn in detail something as delicate as a manual technique.

The Craft Hive process to create one of these courses -The ones that are most successful are those of watercolor, but there is also an illustration, lettering, snail mail…- is almost as laborious as the craft itself that is taught in their virtual classrooms. It takes three months to decide the structure of the lessons, script and record the videos, prepare the website and promote the workshop. "You have to dose the delivery of the material to push the student," explains Garcia. "One of the problems with this type of training is that people often disconnect and do not finish the creative process."

A Jackie Rueda that process to create a course takes at least a month of work full time. When he moved from Caracas to Canada in 2005, he had to assume that neither his English nor his French were good enough to continue his career as a journalist and television scriptwriter. Then the bulb of the photograph went on, until then a hobby. A blog about her life in Montreal led her to give her readers advice on how to improve their photos and, from there, to start up your own academy on-line of creativity, in which today employs 18 people.

Learn to sculpt through the screen

Is it possible to learn to sculpt or paint through a screen? In the Open University of Catalonia (UOC) they are convinced that yes. That's why they created the first degree on-line of Arts in Spain, a pioneering program that they organize in collaboration with the Museo Reina Sofía.

The first class of students has just finished their second year and there are already 300 students enrolled. "We have from people who have wanted to make Fine Arts all their life, to middle-aged students who are looking to reconvert or young people who have just graduated from high school or training courses and do not have a Faculty of Fine Arts near their home," explains Laia Blasco , director of the program.

For now, students have touched the disciplines of drawing, painting and sculpture. One of the biggest challenges of teaching arts in a virtual way is its emotional side. "Non-physicality makes it difficult to manage affections because relationships are mediated by a technological layer that is not as transparent as face-to-face," explains Blasco. "This is relevant in any pedagogical experience, but especially here because in artistic studies emotions are very present."

"It's amazing how the Internet has opened ways for people to develop their passions without restrictions of time or location," says Rueda. From Montreal she teaches Spanish-speaking students, especially from Spain and Argentina, about photography, video, marketing and edition. A step from the artisanal to the digital that keeps that spirit close and creative. "Most of them are women who, despite having children and a career, know how to find time to do things for themselves and learn something nice that opens a creative channel."

The need to disconnect and oxygenate the mind is usually the main motivation of the students of this type of courses. "Creativity is addictive," says Ana García. "Doing things with your hands has that rewarding point and helps you disconnect from the everyday." To learn on-line, he adds, also creates a "social fabric" in which students share and interact with each other.

But there is also a smaller group of students that, just like Ana Sola did with her stamp-carving project, she has seen in this short and affordable training – prices can be between 10 and 50 or 60 euros in most of the platforms – an opportunity to reinvent yourself. The problem is that entrepreneurship in the ecosystem start-up It is very different from doing it with a creative business. And although the first one has written a lot of literature on the Internet, for the second there is hardly any information on how to go from the mere hobby to, at least, self-employment.

"When I started to undertake, I found that there was a lot of creative training to develop your skills, but no course on how to transform that hobby in a real business, "explains Èlia Fibla. BA in Humanities, she focused on another of her passions, jewelry. He did several courses, started selling at fairs and, the project grew so much that he wanted to open his own store. He went to the business incubator in his town and found a list of requirements that he did not even understand. "I had to even put in Google to translate the terminology," he recalls.

He decided then to open a blog in which to share all his inquiries. That was so successful that it turned it into a course on-line, Business Craft, a detailed step by step to undertake a creative project: from knowing the ideal client and shaping the product to the techniques of marketing necessary to start billing. In four editions, he has taught about a thousand students; the majority are women. "There is a large peak between 35 and 45 years old. Motherhood is a key point, many are mothers who either can not return to the work they had or they have made that mental click and see in having their own project and working from home the formula to reconcile ".

In its course there are plenty of entrepreneurs who are dedicated to illustration and photography, but there are also those who venture into the world of confectionery for events or the production of sustainable fashion, for example. Internet and social networks have opened the space to learn a craft or creative craft from scratch and even get to build all that knowledge in your own business. "There is a lot of connection, community and growth," says Jackie Rueda. "Many people are taking advantage of that. Especially women, who no longer wear the last ones. "

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