Sunday, May 17, 2009

What to expect from a workshop with me. :)

What to expect from one of my workshops (on location and online)

1. Sign up for my workshop with an open mind.

A workshop is a place to try new techniques and ideas. If you approach the workshop by doing what you’ve always done, the way you’ve always done it, you defeat the purpose of the new experience, saturated in creativity.

2. Keep a journal.

I think it is a good idea to keep a journal whenever you are taking a workshop to jot down notes. This will help you relive your workshop experience later on, when you need inspiration or a reminder of what you learned.

3. Have a camera on hand and take photos.

Record your work in progress and if you are on location, your fellow students and their work and any demos your instructor may do. Sometimes it’s the little things that you miss that make a difference, and photographs don’t miss much. Take photos of things you come upon in life to use for future workshops and ideas.

4. Ask questions.

There’s no such thing as a silly question at a workshop. No questions. . . no answers.

5. Avoid the cookie cutter syndrome.

Don't try and do everything exactly like I do it. Choose your own colors and images. Make it personal and use what I show you as a jumping off point.

An instructor should meet you ”where you are” in terms of your art knowledge. This is not to say a beginner or someone looking for guidance in buying supplies or trying a new technique should not take instructor’s suggestions—but you’ve all seen classes of ‘cookie cutter’ students where you can pick out the instructor by looking at the work the class has done, and that’s what you want to avoid.I don't like working from a pattern. I will not be giving you an image and you have to produce that image.

6. Network—and be a sponge.

Rarely will you have the opportunity to be in a creatively charged atmosphere where you can eat, sleep and breathe art. Take the time to learn from AND get to know your fellow students. . . some of the most enduring friendships begin in a workshop. If you are taking an online class, make your fellow students friends on FaceBook, Flicker, Twitter, Stumble Upon, etc. This way you can exchange ideas after the class in over.

7. Experiment with all types of art supplies

I use certain fabric paints, but they work for me. Try different paints, threads, beads, etc. Go with the "What If? question.

8. Give yourself time to catch on.

If you’ve never attended a fiber art workshop before or you are new to fiber art, it may be a little overwhelming. Cut yourself some slack when things don’t go perfectly right from the start.

9. Don’t necessarily expect finished you piece at the end of the workshop.

If your goal is to come away with finished pieces, then you’re going to miss out on a lot of other stuff. It’s always tempting, of course, but you’ll learn much more if you focus on accomplishing individual techniques instead.

I want you to have a wonderful learning experience from my workshops, don't get frustrated when you don't finish something by the end of the week. This goes for my on location workshops and online workshops. I want you to open yourself up to new experiences and go with the flow. There are other workshops out there that teach this method of "here is the project and you will have one at the end of the class" and that is great. I want to go a step above that and help you tap into your creative mind.

10. Don't take a workshop with me and expect for me to pour my all my art knowledge to you.

It has taken me over 20 years to get where I am and there is no way I can put all of that knowledge and life experience into a capsule for you to swallow. I will answer all of your questions and help you any way I can, but I had a student make the comment that she had to drag information out of me. Which is really funny, since I can't shut up when I am teaching.

When I am teaching a workshop I have a class outline and teach to that class outline. If there is something else that interests you, I am more than willing to help. :) But there is no way I can teach you everything I know, so don't expect me too. That is like me taking a cooking class and wanting a chef to teach me every cooking style in one week! 

Also, when I take a workshop with a teacher I am taking that class to learn from that person, but also to get to know that teacher on a personal level. That gives me insight on how they produce their artwork and that is what drew me to their work and workshop in the first place. If they are teaching different methods on dyeing fabric, I don't expect them to also teach me block printing on fabric too...that is a different class.

I hope this helps you find your way through one of my workshops and deciding if it is for you or not. I don't want anyone to sign up for one of my classes and not get what they expected.