Welcome to Studio Saturday! Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard.
The following week we choose a random winner.
This week’s winner is Alice! Congratulations! You have won headpins and charms from DaisyChainExtra compliments of Rebecca Anderson! Send Rebecca an email with your address and she will get your prize out to you soon!
Welcome to the Humblebeads Studio:
Good morning! It’s Easter weekend and my brain is overflowing with ideas, renewed directions and a plan of action. But it’s Easter weekend! And my schedule is filled with decorating eggs, baking and spending time with my lovely family. So I do what I do best, sketch and make notes when my hands can’t get dirty.
In all my planning for the future and re-adjusting my goals, I realize one of the things I love doing the most is teaching and organizing retreats. I would like to add more traveling and teaching across the country to my list of goals. I would like to teach at some of the national shows next year which means I only have a few months to come up with a solid plan and proposals for applying.
Hence the sketches and my first step on that journey, which is creating a solid body of work to offer as classes. I have been teaching for over 8 years, both beadmaking and beading classes. I’m no longer offering polymer clay classes, because one cardinal rule of teaching is never teach something you aren’t willing to give up to the universe. And I’m not ready to give away my polymer clay super powers just yet.
These are the current classes I teach – a resin beadmaking class, the steel wire bird nests and a beaded fringe bracelet. While they are awesome classes and my students have loved them, they aren’t exactly a body of work. I’m not willing to pick one material or technique to become an expert. I think my expertise lies in sharing my creative spirit and getting my students to translate their love of nature into design skills they can use in creating jewelry.
Here are some past Bead Cruise
classes – I really run the gamut – a little bit of metal work, stringing and seed bead work. But nature is the theme in each piece and it so happens to be the theme of my book. While they seem like a little bit of everything they really are tied together by the theme of designing jewelry from nature. Which hey, that is my speciality! I wrote the book on it after all!
What I’ve done is taken the four materials/techniques that most appeal to me, that I feel I can express myself easily and can share my knowledge base in those four areas with confidence.
Those are bead embroidery over felted forms (like the Tidepool Beads above). I have leaf and flower designs in the works.
Woodland inspired designs in steel wire and beads, like the Birds of a Feather Class.
Seed beads for wimps – can I specialize in that? I think I can! My seed bead pieces are for those who are little afraid of those tiny specks of beads but long to create things that are opulent in texture and color. I also don’t like following patterns, so my seed bead work is pretty organic and take a minimal amount of attention!
My last set of classes focus on using Resin and UTEE, so a nice mixed media exploration – which can also open up doors in more of the mixed media type events. I also happen to love using them and have several great projects to round out my Faux Sea Glass offering.
What do you need to start teaching?
First you need that body of work – decide if it’s a specific material you’ll teach, like Barb Lewis’ enamel classes or Tracy Stanley’s metalwork classes. Or if you are going to teach using several materials and share more of a design style with your students using whatever material gets the job done – like Gail Crosman Moore nature infused pieces.
Once you have your prototypes created and you’ve worked out any design kinks and discovered some tips and tricks to make it the best way possible, it’s time to write your directions.
Step by step photo directions that are easy to follow are the best for student take-aways. You can create your directions into mini-booklets or as individual sheets that are printed on cardstock. Once you have your instructions finished, send it to a few good friends who have eagle eyes to proofread your directions or give them a test drive. (This is my preference – there are as many ways to create your instructions as there are teachers in the world!)
You’ll also want to take great photos of your jewelry for samples and create several class samples and a few extras to loan to bead stores. Some bead stores like to display the samples to promote your classes.
So now you have your projects, samples, and well-written and tested directions. Now it’s time to create a webpage with your class offerings. This can be a page on your blog or website.
Start local – offer your classes to local students either at a bead shop or community center to work out any teaching kinks and to gain some hands on teaching experience with this project.
Now you are ready to take those classes on the road. You can contact bead stores or apply to teach at regional bead retreats to build up your cred.
And then you’ll need to hire someone to count all those beads for your kits. Ha, ha – no seriously – it’s amazingly tedious work but part of the job! Kits give students the chance to create in the classroom without worrying if they have brought all the right materials and gives them the best results while learning your project.
Don’t be afraid to find a mentor to ask for advice while you are building your teaching career.
So now it’s time to ask you a question for the week and offer a prize! This week’s prize is a $25 gift certificate to my website, http://www.humblebeads.com/
And my question – what makes a great bead teacher? Maybe it’s something you noticed in a class you took or a standard that you measure instructors by or something as a student you wish teachers did more often.