How to Get the Most out of a Class or Workshop

How to Get the Most out of a Class or Workshop

Posted by Debra Walland on

Will you be taking a class or workshop? Thought I'd write to you this month about how to make the most of it and be the perfect student. These are not the express opinion of Seaside Rug Hooking Company (Laura hasn't read this yet.)

Think about a workshop or class in something new to you. These are great ways to have someone show you how, correct your errors, give you hints, that you won't find on YouTube or in a book.  Classes are all about stretching and growing. Learning.

If you are just breezing though a rug with no problem spots or questions, you are basically spending a lot of money to be at a hook-in.  You should choose to challenge yourself-and still have fun.  Never done a fine-cut?  a nine-cut?  Hook with yarn or silk or embellishments?  Never hooked an animal or portrait? Never tried?  This is time to jump out of your comfort zone.
Find a teacher who is teaching something you want to learn.  Nothing is more frustrating to a student is to have a teacher who doesn't want to teach what she wants to learn and the teacher feels the same way.  Don't choose based on her reputation, or the location of the class. Don't take from the same teacher all the time because you like him or her.

To choose a teacher, look at the ATHA newsletter or Rug Hooking Magazine, and see who is doing what you would like to do.   Read the ads and look at the articles. Find a book -Rug Hooking Magazine has published so many books on specific areas of hooking. Then ask around and find out when and where the teacher will be. Read the bios on the literature from the workshop. Call or email the teacher ahead of time.  She should be willing to discuss what you want to get out of the class and what your project might be. Ask how many are in a class and length of the class. More than 3 days is plenty for me.  If you are like me, after that the learning curve falls right to the floor.

If you enjoy the concept of painting with wool, 
consider doing  a pictorial rug.  Pictorials are perfect for workshops since there are so many little tricks and details. It doesn't have to be a big masterpiece.  You don't have to work with a fine cut or even fine shading with a good teacher who enjoys landscapes, seascapes, or other pictorials.

To prepare for the class, bring your pattern, with some ideas of what you are imagining it to be.  Bring some wool if you know the palette you want but don't color plan the piece - keep an open mind.  And remember there will be more wool where you are going than what  have at home. Your teacher should be glad to dye wool that might work in your piece.  Just remember, selling wool is an important part of her income, but don't pressured to buy everything she brought if it doesn't suit you.
Bring your cutter and a couple size wheels, you never know what inspiration may come.

As the time goes on, emulate others in the class if you see something you like, watch what the teacher is showing others. And avoid the temptation to teach others unless your teacher encourages it. Ask questions, but don't take more than your share of the teacher's time. Make mistakes.  That is why you are there.  Try something the teacher suggests but don't feel like you have to always keep it in the rug.  This is your piece, not hers.
And when it's over, say thank you.  Sometimes a class will sign a greeting card to give to the
teacher as a thank you - it's a nice touch if you have enjoyed your time.

Enjoy your summer.  Put your hook down on the beautiful days!



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  • Well written instructions for us to read, especially if you have not attended many workshops. Wish I had read this prior to my last workshop as it is exactly what I needed to hear. I did not know what to take so took my own wools and pattern … I had looked at the limited patterns that were online. When I got to the workshop I loved some of the patterns but felt overwhelmed so stuck with what I brought figuring I’d learn from teacher who was teaching anyway. No, I learned since then, go with a pattern you fall in love with of theirs and start with wools they have. Now that the internet can show so much more to future students I would also strongly encourage a designer/teacher to share a larger selection of theirs online of rugs, especially new ones that are available , not a few or only old ones of a couple years ago.
    Your article should go out with every class to be held. Very valuable information and so eloquently said. Thank You

    Lynn on

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