Friday, July 25, 2008

How I organize my workshops

Someone asked, so I am replying to this question about workshops.

BTW, Sandy did a very, very nice review of two of my mini-workshops. People told her what they liked about my workshops and about other workshops.

The main thing I heard was that my workshop was very organized and easy to follow. I only had an hour and a half to help them create the copper book necklaces. I had almost all the components in kit form. I just had the tools and chain separate. I put in extra jump rings because some always get destroyed. I even cut up sand paper and put them in the kits. I demo'd each thing they had to do. I gave a mini lesson on tools. I gave tips and hints as we worked so they would avoid making mistakes. I always gave them two things they could do. I did not have enough tools for 24 people. I had at least 12 sets of tools so that only two people had to share. The option of doing something else kept everyone busy instead of waiting for the next thing. I had detailed instructions for each person at the beginning of the workshop so super fast people (like me) could just work and not have to wait for others. I gave several options for the inside images. I brought extra kits and materials in case some things did not work or broke. I set up eyelet stations so they could hammer in their eyelets. I gave a mini lesson on the crop-a-dile. I tried to anticipate everything they would want or need to know. I wrote down a list of everything I had to bring with me so I would not forget. I thought the hardest thing would be wire wrapping but it was eyelet setting. The beauty of this class was that your pendant was your own. It not being perfect was what made it so great. People who took my class last night said others were raving about their necklace. I also brought a spool of copper chain so they could cut to their desired length. I made up extra kits in case people wanted to buy them. They all were snapped up in 5 minutes. Good thing I had the forethought to give one to Sandy at the beginning of the workshop or nothing would be left. I did pass out my card at the end. I went into the class with the intentions of teaching the class and not selling anything. The extra kits were something I did for them and not for me since it was a lot of extra work for me. I figured that if they did not sell, then I would use them for give-aways and stuff like that. People know when you go into a workshop with the intentions of selling and not actually focusing on what needs to be done.

If you are going to show a sample of something, then you better do something like one of the samples. If you are not, then that needs to be specified. I hate going to workshops where I see beautiful samples and I come out with nothing like it.

I try to think about what I am going to do beforehand in my workshop. I think about what we are going to do and in what order. What materials will go where. I like the station set-up. I have materials in one spot and tools in another. It all depends on how much space I am given and how many people are in the workshop. If you are going to have them go home with wet backgrounds, then provide something for them to go home with them. I had a roll of garbage bags so that people could roll up their technique pages to go home with them and then unroll to let them dry. I supplied little ziplock bags for people who did not want to wear their necklaces out and for little embellishments, if they wanted to put them on later.

It also helps to have an assistant or someone helping you with the workshop, especially if it is a large one. If your class is going to be messy, then bring plastic gloves. I don't know why the ones I seeped through. Sorry, ladies. I like to do little give-aways. It makes it more fun. Does not have to be big. I gave away small masks and some of the mica and Color Wash already out for the workshop. It was extra anyway. Sandy was nice enough to pour it into little mister bottles. I got a bunch of them from So functionaland cheap. They are the generic version of what Ranger sells. That is all that I can think of now off the top of my head. I am off to have a movie day with my kids.

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