There is a trend nowadays towards watching online videos to learn something new. You don’t have to go anywhere and you don’t have to pay anything. It’s easy, convenient and you can watch anytime you feel like. For some people who live in isolated areas or have mobility issues, it is a great solution. However, for the rest of us, I submit that a live class with a teacher is far superior for many reasons.
First, there is the advantage of having a teacher who can respond in real time to your questions. I don’t know about you, but if I don’t ask the question right away, I forget pretty fast! The other students in the class will also learn something or may be able to add information to what the teacher has to say. Learning is also important for your brain, which is not just there to keep your skull from caving in!
Second, you can see what the teacher is doing from different angles and you can ask them to repeat what they did so you can see it up close. They can also guide your hands when you are learning a new skill so that you get a proper feel for it. A lot of what we do is based on muscle memory, so learning to do it properly is important for being effective with the tools. Who wants to be filing a piece for hours, only to discover that they’re using the file the wrong way?
Third, there’s nothing like being in a class to get your creative juices flowing! Whenever I learn a new skill or technique, I come up with ten different ways to use it in my jewellery. Just seeing what other people are doing opens my mind to possibilities that I never thought of before. You can also be an inspiration to others in your class, (yes, you can!). Inspiration is all around us, but even more so in a class setting where you and others are exploring your creativity.
Fourth, I think it’s easy to get discouraged and lose focus if it’s just YouTube and you. If your project is not working the way that you want, stopping to read your email or make a cup pf tea can quickly become a distraction from going back and tackling whatever’s not working. In a class, you work through any issues you are having because you have assistance and encouragement to keep working on the techniques you’re learning. The payoff is feeling competent, achievement, and satisfaction from all the endorphins your brain is producing because of acquiring a new skill. Doesn’t that feel good!
Fifth, safety! In a class setting, you will learn the safe way to do things. When you are working with power tools and flames, knowing how to use them correctly is of the utmost importance. You cannot focus on making a nice solder join when your hair is on fire! See our blog, “Safety in The Metalsmithing Studio”, June 2018, for more on how to be safe and have fun. Yes, it is possible!
Sixth, and most importantly, by taking a class, you become part of a community, even if just for a day. Here is where you will find your tribe, fellow artisans who also enjoy creating things of beauty. There is a sense of acceptance, support and encouragement in these classes and within the larger community they create. Even though all the students may be making the “same” project, each piece will be unique because each student adds their own touches. When we all meet in a class, we are sharing these viewpoints with each other and hopefully through this process, are able to develop more understanding and empathy for our fellow humans. Shared experiences create bonds and it seems to me that, now more than ever, we need these connections with each other.
Don’t be afraid to take a class for fear of looking clumsy or foolish. Everybody has to start somewhere and no one does it perfectly the first time! And never think that you are not creative! Everybody is creative in some way and a class is a perfect way explore that creativity. Even if it turns out that jewellery making is not for you, it is still a wonderful way to have a day for yourself. Above all, have fun- it’s not a contest! I leave you with the following quote, attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
Workingsilver has fabulous CLASSES in our studio – Check them out HERE