by teresamasters on September 25, 2010

Not all, is all, unto all.

There are perspectives from all sides. I hear/see most of them, as I have been actively involved in arranging several.

I’m throwing this out to all and am looking for positive input. Regurgitation of what went wrong in your last one, is not a path toward correction, it is another “can you top this” ploy. I plan on focusing on the positive. So please spare me and others of reliving unpleasantness.

When you decide to participate in a workshop, what are your basic criteria. What are you looking for, and just how important is “Whom?”

Are you honest with yourself as to your goals? Are you paying for a known expert to learn techniques or to copy? Do you “get” the difference? This is not a trick question, some notable among us have the idea that if they paid you to teach them, it is now their technique to do as they wish.

NOT! Teaching the technique is proprietary to the original instructor. Especially class handouts. Think not? One day, guaranteed, you will be on the receiving end.

The workshop instructor will let you know what is OK and what is not, respect that.

Another aspect is thinking you will be able to glean the path taken by known instructor and suddenly your path to fame and fortune will be clear. Unless you are willing to make the commitment to the same level of time, effort and investment, no.

OK, next, why are you taking this workshop? Are you doing it on your own, to really learn a technique, or are you signing up along with a friend or friends. Is it going to be social,  or despite friend sitting adjacent, can you singly mindfully focus on the instructor and save the socialization for breaks? Too often, it is pal’s together time out, and this causes the instructor to take class time out to correct the situation, or spend extra time with the friends going over what they missed.

The ideal class pays good attention, asks questions which are of benefit to all, and is supportive of each other’s efforts.

Me, me, me, before all others, and much more frequently as well. Most instructors have students with the need for extra attention. Yes most others are aware, and some are annoyed. Make sure you are not denying yourself your needed time just because someone else tries to hog. Instructors try to be aware of this and deal with it in their own manner. If you do not see this happen, then a quiet outside of earshot comment to the instructor may be enough. Extra needy and demanding students are unaware that they are leaving a trail behind. Believe me, yes.

Level of competence, it is the instructor who puts forth the level of abilities required. Here it is necessary for you the student to be honest with your own ability. I have and do suggest to students hesitant about skills with the torch, soldering, bezel setting, sawing, to take a remedial class first. No shame there, but imagine the difference in confidence when you light a torch, solder a bezel, pierce a piece, without hand holding. You do not want to spend $500. for a weekend, and have to wait for an A level instructor to light your torch. Yes, it does happen.

Last comment about Workshops 101, as I see it. Cameras. Oh my, have I ever seen intrusion here. Some actually hard to believe. Video cams, still cameras as well as camera phones. Never assume it is OK, please ask permission from both the instructor and your fellow students.  If I were to say more, it would be too much.

The above is a meld of post workshop debriefings. It reflects instructors and students, as well as an observer, me.

Yes, there is a theme here, integrity, honesty, and self-awareness.

My questions,

Who do you want to take a workshop from?

What was the best workshop you ever took?

Which workshop would you want to take again?

How far are you willing to travel?

San Diego is an outstanding vacation destination. Would you consider combining a workshop with a family vacation

What have I missed?

Hugs and Thanks,





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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Terrie Masters January 30, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Second late answer, again sorry.
I was just reading a forum that seems to be seat of the pants learning in making jewelry. One member mentioned that she had finally decided to spend the money for a formal class. She praised what she had learned. Up to that point, money came ahead of training. One shared tip in one class alone can save major time and wasted investment. Why the resistance amongst a cottage industry group of people is so strong, to the point of being rude, I’ll never know.
Instructors such as Andy Cooperman are always looking for workshops to take and do so with relish.
I believe it is practicing what you preach.
Hugs and Thanks,

genevieve January 1, 2011 at 6:44 pm

Wow Terrie! I am with Andy, you go girl! It is about time someone addressed these issues. I have not taken many workshops but the ones that I have taken were very important to me! As an instructor myself I have had my share of needy students and I, personally, have found it difficult to let them know how needy they are and how to go about moving on to the next paying student. I am still learning this one.
As for workshops and instructors, my hopes of learning or furthering my expertise was my goal, not necessarily wanting to make friends. However, it has always been a bonus to meet new people and make new friendships!
When choosing what workshop to take I want to take from the most experienced instructor in the area that I am interested. Most of the time the instructor may be well known, but I may not know them! So infamy does not always factor in to my decision, expertise, knowledge, and reputation of being a good instructor are important.
I can never get enough of repousse! That is where my heart lies at the moment.
And for vacation destinations, I would not be opposed to working in a vacation along with my workshop. And for the distance, take me whereever!!!! As long as I can scrape up the money I am there!
Genevieve Flynn

andy cooperman September 28, 2010 at 10:51 am

You go girl!!!!!!!

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