The Red Baron, visiting from Tony's Evil Oasis

Happily, the weather warmed up for the arrival of my first guests, Sue Blessinger and Teresa Sullivan. It is fabulous to see them, and I feel as if the party has well and truly started. Sue has a class today with Susan Lenart Kazmer, whom I adore, and Teresa is on the loose, talking to people about the types of classes she’d like to teach/host/see more of; perhaps multi-day sessions, classes that are more an exploration of technique, form, and potential than the short make-and-takes that are the norm now.  Both she and Sue want to bring together people who want a deeper experience, more of the retreat-level depth of learning.

I personally don’t resonate with the idea of a class that is meant to teach me to replicate someone else’s design exactly, but I’ve certainly taught them. I get around the system by presenting my classes as the usual but then showing up and teaching technique. I mean, sure, I’ll show you how to make a Shag Carpet Of Pearls or whatever the piece of paper says, but I want considerably more from the experience than that. I don’t care if you make a Shag (unless you want to, and then I care a lot) but I am heavily invested in whether or not you leave feeling comfortable about making a decent wire loop, and  handling your thread.

It will be interesting to hear what Teresa and Susan find out, talking to people this week. I suspect that there are many people out there who would love a deeper experience. May we find each other, in propitious combinations.

19 thoughts on “whirly

  1. Kate the Baron looks as though he is sitting sentinel this morning :) and I’m so glad the weather is cooperating! As to a concept(?) class; I’d think the popularity of the book would be a good barometer for this.

    • I agree that there are enough people out there, but books are easier to afford than classes. I don’t personally want to teach, but I’d like to encourage the concept of originality and a focus on technique for those who want to move beyond pattern replication.

  2. Funny you should bring this subject up. I always take workshops to learn technique and some tip from the teacher. One of the best tips I ever got was from you…making that little handle for wire wraps. Before I moved here, I would get together w/friends to bead and play w/ideas. I miss that. So in 2 weeks I’ll be in Mi for Bead Daze getting together w/friends and hoping to learn something new from Diane Fitzgerald and Leslie Frazier. I know I’ll learn something from Mary Hetts…but I’m mostly taking her class because I know I’m going to have a lot of fun!

    • You need to join the Great Lakes Beadworker’s Guild. STAT!!!! Bead Daze is their annual classapalooza and my God, the Guild is stuffed with talent. It is a privilege to bead with them, much less be invited to teach. I very much want to do it again.

  3. In my more than 26 years of teaching, I have seen the class environment change so much. Years ago, when I was booked to teach nationally, people insisted on two day classes. I love them! Then they wanted two – one day classes. Now they want two or three half day classes or maybe a one day and two half day classes. It is increasingly difficult me to design for quick projects. But, the mortgage payment keeps arriving each month and I need a place to store my beads and myself!
    I loved the days when we would explore and play with our beads and get individual pieces in the same class. Customers demand quickies nowadays. It would be great to see the return of the retreat like, experimental workshops.

    • Susan was saying that Bead Fest is asking for hour and a half class proposals in the current wave. Unreal.

      It drives designers into a kind of derivative mode that is.. sub-ideal.

  4. It’s like the Lego sets for kids, now you have to make the race car or the castle because that is how the kit is…follow the directions get a castle….When I was a kid I never built the pictures on the box, I thought you were supposed to make your own design, of course it wasn’t as gee-whiz fancy as it is now, but you could do your own thing. I’m the same with jewelry, I love learning a new technique, but usually only make one item as presented, then feel compelled to do something at least partly original. Your book and Jean’s have been very inspirational. Now if only my skills would catch up with my imagination !!!

  5. What Linda (and all of you) have said. I want to learn techniques. If I want to follow a pattern, I’ll get books (lots of books) but even then, I don’t follow the pattern that much. When I was sewing a lot, I got patterns. And I never did get brave enough to change them much. I was shocked to learn that a friend bought not only patterns but the fabric that matched was shown on the pattern! Not my cuppa! Teach me how to do stuff. Then I can go & do it myself, thank-you-very-much!

  6. As I was telling Kate earlier, I stopped teaching beading because it was too draining to be forced to come up with look alike 2 hour projects. I was far from being a nationally known teacher, but taught quite a bit in this area and even once at Bead and Button. The fun of sharing ideas based on common techniques is what keeps me beading; not making look alike bracelets and such. That is what makes Kate’s venture into geometric beadwork so appealing to me.

  7. I am profoundly interested in the deeper experience – in just about all things. So… yes. Please.

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