Monday, March 2, 2015

Get the Most Out of a Class

I taught mosaic and fused glass classes for adults and children for 12 years. I also have taken many mosaic and fused glass classes. In that time, I have noticed that how a person selects a class can make a big difference in how they viewed their experience. As a student, you want to come make something great, learn something new, and have fun. These notes may help you decide which classes to choose.

If you are a beginner, look for a class taught in a studio where you can use tools without having to buy them. Class descriptions will note if tools are supplied. This is important because if you have never tried any glass techniques, you have no idea if you will like working with glass. Glass cutting tools are an investment. Cutting glass takes practice and a lot of people are frustrated for the first few classes. If you find that you do like working with glass, then consider buying your own glass cutter and running pliers. (See post about tools.) Plan to buy glass, though. (There should be a supply list.)

About buying glass, some studios will require that you bring your own glass. Glass supply retailers often offer classes. Depending on their policies, you may or may not be able to bring in your own glass materials. Arts centers may or may not sell glass or other materials, but those that do, sell by the pound.

Read the class description carefully. I thought it was odd that people would sign up for a class without knowing what they signed up for. Sometimes they were delighted; sometimes they were disappointed. For instance, someone may misunderstand "Stained Glass Mosaic Class" and expect to create a stained glass panel that would be soldered. In most all cases, you should be able to call and talk to the instructor if you have questions. You should also know what the studio or arts center's refund policies are.

If the description is well-written, you should be able to figure out if the class has been planned properly. There is nothing worse than taking a class only to find that the instructor didn't plan enough time to complete the project, or that the class was planned to only get to a mid-point, not a complete project. Look for information like, "Create your own beautiful stained glass lamp shade in this 6-week course." Again, if you have questions, a phone call should clarify anything you need to know.

Depending on what you expect to get out of a class (learning something new, furthering a skill, having fun), you will want to think about the value of that experience. If you plan a little before you sign up, you can insure that you'll get the most out of your class.

May all of your scores run true!

                                      Photo by Valerie Clack, mixed media workshop 2010

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