Sunday, 6 February 2011

The Crafter’s Way 167 – Want to Learn Something New?

 Here is this week’s Messenger column, Learning a New Craft.

A new year often bring resolutions and new craft goals. For many it might be the annual sweeping statement of keeping our craft room tidy, for others it is a desire to learn a new craft or revisit a skill long since forgotten. Committing to a Craft Class can be a daunting experience; there is the financial outlay, the time factor and desired outcomes to be considered. How do you decide which class is for you? Here are my Top 5 points to consider.class collage 

What is your purpose? Maybe learning a new skill is not your primary reason for doing a class. Maybe you have just moved into a new area and are looking to make new friends, or perhaps you have decided that it is time to do something for yourself. Deciding on your purpose will help you decide if you are after skill based class, a craft social morning or weekend retreat.

How do you learn? We all have a preferred way of learning. Do you need to be shown? Can you follow instructions from a book? Do you need step by step instructions with a finished project to take home or do you prefer experimenting on your own? Answering these question will help you decide if you need project based or technique classes. Do you even need a face to face class or can you learn from a book or downloading a PDF Class.

When do you learn best? Are you a morning person? Or do you prefer to burn the midnight oil? Do you do shift work? Can getting to a class at the same time every week be difficult? Craft Classes come in many formats. If a face to face class doesn’t suit you consider the many online options. Online options include downloading PDF files and or recorded video, live video streaming, forums and groups. Undertaking an online class may suit your busy lifestyle better.

What level are you at? Just because you are learning a new skill it doesn’t mean that you are a complete beginner. Knowing how to sew a straight line on your machine doesn’t mean that you can do an advanced quilting course. Have a good hard think about your current skills then ask the instructor about the prerequisite skills needed for the class. Better to check than to waste your money.

How much is it going to cost? Not only is there the initial cost of attending the class but you need to consider the ongoing, often hidden costs. Are there additional requirements for the class? Do you need to purchase them from the shop running the class? Can you ‘hire’ equipment? Classes facilitated through Craft Shops are likely to have the expectation that you purchase materials and supplies from them. Social groups /online are more flexible.

Learning a new craft skill is supposed to be fun, exciting and challenging. With these questions answered you should be able to find the class that suits you perfectly.

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