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Today we welcome a guest post from Susan Yeates on running craft workshops.
My name is Susan Yeates and as well as a published craft author, artist and business woman I have been teaching art/craft workshops for over thirteen years. People often ask me why I still teach them and what do I get out of it? Well, in this blog article I would like to explain a little more about why I love teaching craft workshops and why I will continue to do so. Plus keep reading to the end for a special discount offer on my latest online course!
I set up my craft business Magenta Sky in 2003 after leaving university with a fine art printmaking degree. I set it up as mainly as a platform for making and selling prints and greetings cards from my printmaking skills (linocut, woodcut and screenprinting). A year or so into the venture, I realised that I needed some additional income to pay for more materials as well as pay the rent, and so I decided to start teaching what I knew as an additional income stream.
My first venture into teaching was a ten-week Introduction to Printmaking evening course that I ran in a rehearsal space in a local theatre. I was absolutely petrified of teaching as I was more used to just sitting in a studio on my own drawing, printing and just creating work. Standing up in front of a group of adults to teach them, just filled me with dread. I wasn’t a trained teacher, so how could I do this?? However, after a lot of planning (and I have to admit a glass of wine), I taught my first course to fifteen willing participants and actually really enjoyed it. From here things have grown year on year, I now teach a variety of art and craft workshops, have written three craft books, produce online courses BUT however busy I get, I still make time in my diary to teach others.
So, here are my six top reasons why I still teach workshops today:
Additional Income Stream
I suppose this is the most obvious reason for why someone would start teaching their craft skills and it was the reason I personally started as well. Great for paying for more materials for you and also for boosting your monthly income as an artist or crafter. This is why I will talk about this first. Let’s get it out of the way, because teaching others can actually be so much more profitable than just additional income.
Depending on the cost of your materials/tools and venue and then what you charge per class or day, teaching workshops and classes can be a fairly profitable exercise. For myself in one session I can teach up to 15 people, who will pay around £40-£60 per head for a full day. With a materials cost of around £5 for printmaking, do the maths – it can be pretty good! Workshops aren’t always fully booked and there are hidden costs such as marketing, travel and your time to throw in but you can see how the potential can be pretty good. I always think that I charge around the mid-range for what I do, so you could charge more depending on your costs and what you plan to teach.
After teaching my first workshop, I learnt how to get up in front of a small group of people and talk. As a natural introvert, this was at first terrifying but after a few sessions, my confidence grew as I saw that people were enjoying what I was teaching and really learning from the experience. The good thing about a workshop is that in reality there is very little what I would call ‘public speaking’ or ‘presenting’. After a short introduction, it is more about making sure that everyone is on track, demonstrating techniques, providing words of encouragement and just generally giving tips and pointers.
The great thing as well is that you drive the workshop – you choose what you teach, how you teach it, how long you do it for and of course you are teaching something you know and love. This will always shine through – just be yourself and show people just how much you love your craft. Gaining more confidence because I taught, was a surprising but pleasing side-effect of teaching!
Fulfilment from Inspiring Others
This might have to be the no.1 reason that I still teach. I absolutely love the moment after a demonstration and some practical time, when people have carved their lino blocks, we finally get to print. That moment when someone lifts the paper up on their first print of the day and there is that ‘ahhhhh’ moment when it all clicks into place and they see that what they have been working on for the past hour actually works and comes together. Priceless.
Seeing just how creative a small group of people can be with quite a narrow set of instructions is amazing and very rewarding. Another brilliant part of a workshop is always ‘show and tell’ at the end where we look at all the works, see what we have done in the day and discuss how much they have enjoyed it. I smile just thinking of this.
Running workshops can also be a great networking opportunity. I only teach adults and most people that come along tend to love most things creative. I get ideas for other venues to look at, other courses to try myself. I get given suggestions for artists to look and at exhibitions or craft shops to look at. Think of it as just chatting to people about all the creative things you like. This is also great if most of your creative work is done solo in your house or studio. It is a way of meeting people and sharing this combined love of art or craft.
Every time I teach, I come home inspired and wanting to just make stuff myself. Providing others with this creative environment for the day and watching them make beautiful things always gives me ideas for myself or makes me want to go home and pick up on a piece of work I haven’t quite finished yet (of which there are many!)
Teaching is the Best Learning
I have actually found teaching a really good learning experience. To teach a subject, you need to know it really well and so for many workshops I have had to learn more about a topic before teaching it so that I can provide a really good learning experience for others. It helps me to know a subject inside out or come up with new ways of working or exploring a topic. Students asking questions makes me think deeper and all of this helps me to learn more about the subjects I teach but also about how I teach them and my personal teaching style. In fact, I wrote my book Learning Linocut (https://www.magenta-sky.com/about/learning-linocut-book/) as a teaching tool and a way of answering student questions in one place.
So as you can see there are many more reasons why you should teach workshops than just generating an income.
Want To Teach Craft Workshops?
If you are an artist or avid crafter and are thinking about teaching your skills and would like some guidance or a helping hand to get started, Susan can help you out. Susan runs really helpful and clear online course called How To Teach Craft Workshops, taking you everything you need to know to get teaching.
Within the course you will learn:
- Topic planning – decide exactly what to teach and in what format
- Teach craft workshops to students with ease
- Understand the best ways to structure a creative course
- Learn how to choose the correct venue for your course
- Learn about the business of running workshops and art classes
- Have the confidence to teach your skills
- Learn how to market your courses online and offline
- Fill your courses with paying students!!
- Learn what you need to take with you to a workshop or craft course
The six-module comprehensive course is available on learning platform Udemy, click here to find out more.
For more information on what Susan does please visit www.magenta-sky.com