Back in March, things changed dramatically for all of us and with this our face to face community work stopped and the future of Little Bird SOS was uncertain. Whilst we were able to connect, informally through online chat room platforms, it was not quite the same as running sessions to inspire people to be creative whilst at the same time improving mental health and wellbeing. Making & creating is the fundamental pull to help people overcome social isolation - the side effect of this is connection, friendship, compassion, community etc. With this in mind, finding a way to replicate this online requires resource in terms of money. Our computer equipment was not up to scratch to run online workshops. Additionally time had become very precious with the extra responsibilities attached to being housebound such as caring for others and being an home educator!
With this in mind, we were grateful of support from our local council community fund to help our organisation survive this crisis and give us access to the expert support needed to help rapidly translate our face to face work into an online environment. It has also helped us purchase specialist kit to ensure participants accessing our online events have a good experience.
In a short space of time, we have set up informal coffee shop meetings every Tuesday Morning. This is what we do in our community anyway. It gives space for people to come and chat in a safe and friendly environment, share hints and tips on all sorts of things and show each other what we've been making.
On Thursday afternoons are running formal sessions where we share a art/craft skill and give participants links to tutorials or inspirational websites to help spark creativity. The first week we are still trying to get to grips with the online environment and the digital environment. We chatted about communicating online and how it can feel a little strange at times. We demonstrated how to make little companion emojis, on a spoon or stick, to wave at the screen to express emotion:
Wooden Spoon Dollies by Wonky Button
Superhero Spoon Puppets by The Craft Train
Stick Figures by Precocious Paper
Studio Friends by Carnet Imaginaire
Altered Paint Brushes by Altered Book Studio
We hope this has inspired you to have a go at making your own emoji friend to keep you company on your next online event!