Friday, 24 November 2017

Creative workshops: what do you think?

Socrates said “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”.  

Today I have a question for you.  

There's always a catch. You have to read this post before you get to it!

I ran a new hand embroidery workshop last Saturday, based around the technique I call 'Stitch Doodling'.

It's a concept of using a simple shape, then building up the design within it, step by step. This is the sample I designed, a vintage themed version of my original bunny, (which you can see below.)

I try and give as much as I can to help people get the maximum out of their day. My favourite workshop joke is that I only have one rule, 'There are no rules'! 

It's true though - and it's up to me to help each person to think - and find the way that works for them. That's quite hard work. Brilliant fun, but not always easy. (Any tutors reading this, I know you're with me here!)

With this new class, there was a lot of content for the participants to get to grips with. There's always a certain amount of trial and error delivering a new workshop, regardless of how much preparation has gone into the day. You can never tell how people will relate to the content; sometimes you need to make speedy changes on the hoof. I had one or two panicky moments, but I think I got away with it, and I think everyone went away happy!

Okay then; taking into account:

  • coming up with an achievable concept and a plan 
  • creating samples
  • drafting (and often endless re-writing) numerous handouts 
  • putting kits together 
  • and then making sure there is a friendly, relaxed and supportive environment (and of course, cake)

Is it worth it? 

Personally, I feel there is nothing quite like interacting face to face. I get a huge buzz from sharing knowledge, and helping people discover how creative they can be. 

It's a powerful thing. 

Watching people's delight when they achieve something they've never done before, and knowing you helped, well, it's pretty amazing. 

Plus, it's a two way process; I learn so much from students - about life, the universe and everything!   

So fellow creative tutors, and those of you who come to our classes; what do you think makes a great workshop?

Original thread doodle bunny

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