It can be really daunting turning up to a workshop in a place you’re unfamiliar with and facing people you don’t know. I have let my own fears put me off attending things and joining courses in the past and I actually run workshops!
It was while chatting in one of the workshops I teach that a lady confessed that it had taken her quite a while to pluck up the courage to come along. This surprised me as she was really confident and chatty. So we pursued the conversation and it turned out that she had had her own preconceptions about the workshop and that everyone would be really good and she would get left behind.
This got me wondering if there were others who wanted to join workshops but were just a bit too…. Or it was all a bit….
So these are just 9 reasons why you should find one for you and join in.
It’s easier to See and then Do – I understand that this is a HUGE generalisation but most people I’ve come across who do creative stuff are visual or kinesthetic learners, or more likely a combination of both. By this I mean that it’s far easier to watch how someone else does it so you can copy them. Now I realise that you can do this on YouTube or Google and rewind over and over again. But often the angles aren’t quite right or you just want someone to say, “pin it there” or “hold it like that” and you’re away.
You can ask anything – If your tutor is an expert in what they’re teaching, and they should be, workshops are a fabulous opportunity to ask anything! There is no such thing as a daft question. I think that’s really important and something I want to emphasise. And the ‘daft question’ you want to ask will probably be asked by someone else anyway.
You‘ll meet other people just like you – When you join a workshop you are already with other people that have something in common with you – a love of, or an interest in, whatever the workshop is for. I have lots of lovely friends that go way back, but none of them sew! Unbelieveable I know, but true. So I love it when I can get all nerdy talking seam finishes or the benefits of an overlocker during workshops. I’ve found my tribe.
You WILL learn stuff you didn’t know before – This is something I absolutely guarantee! Even if it’s just that the capital city of Tibet is Lhasa, yes this really did come up in conversation (but if that’s the only thing you go away with I feel I will have failed in my job as an educator). However, there are always things you didn’t know before and extra nuggets of information you will take away with you from a workshop. Everyday is a school day and we all learn things from each other during the workshops too.
When you’re sewing at home it is so easy to get bogged down with all the other really important thing s that need doing like laundry or cooking dinner or, or, or…
Workshops give you time out – The space and time you need away from everything else. We have people come to workshops who could probably do whatever we’re doing in the workshop on their own but really enjoy having some time to themsleves. I’ve mentioned before in other blogs how important it is to have that time and space just for you. Workshops facilitate mindfulness – there I’m getting all Zen again!
They help your confidence grow – Whether you do a one off short workshop or a longer course. You will see an improvement in both your skills and understanding in a relatively short space of time. I think that is because of the tangible nature of what you’re creating. You are physically holding and manipulating fabric to transform it into something else. You can literally see the transformation happening before your very own eyes. So often we work in offices or on computers where you never really see what you’re working with it’s all ‘virtual’. Or we’re or at home running around doing chores and tidying up only to have all our hard work undone when the family get home – I really get that one! So seeing what you create and other people can admire provides a huge boost in confidence.
You can learn at your own pace – Our class sizes are usually pretty small, only a maximum of 6 for dressmaking and pattern cutting so there is no need to feel like you HAVE to keep up. And other independently run workshops are pretty much the same too. I and all our tutors are really happy to go over things as many times as required for you to get it right. And I sometimes act as a “sewing sous chef” to help you get things done during the time we have. Never the interesting bits mind, just the boring bits you already know how to do.
There are no EXAMS! – No one is judging you or testing you on what you’ve achieved or asking you to provide evidence of criteria met. This is learning for the pure joy of learning new stuff. Even when we run a workshop on a specific pattern like the Kate Dress, all the individual dresses created by the end of the day are amazing in their own way. And you are able to take inspiration from other people on the workshops too, who may have used a contrasting fabric or picot edge binding. These ideas are stored away ready to come out when you start sewing again.
There’s always cake! – Well at our workshops anyway. We try and make the cakes and cookies we have at our workshops ourselves. I know Rachel has a bit of a reputation of being a demon baker and my lemon drizzle cake always goes down well. We want you to feel relaxed and at home when you join us for a workshop. After all you are putting your faith and trust in us to be able to help you to sew better.
The least we can do is to make you feel welcome and put the kettle on.