Let's Talk: Do You Really Need to Leave Every Class with a Completed Project?

Do you really need to leave every craft class with a completed project? | VanillaArts.com

I'm getting ready to start fresh with my live classes: new classes, new curriculum, new location, new students...

And my brand spankin' new Copic Club class format really has me re-thinking my goals for the class.

But you know what hasn't changed?

You're still not going to leave my class with anything fridge worthy, much less something ready to slap on a card to send to your best friend.

How important is leaving class with a finished project?

Well, if I was signing up for a three hour class on making monogrammed square throw pillows, and the class supplies included a pillow form and all the necessary material and threads, and every student had full use of embroidery and sewing machines... well then I'd fully expect to leave class with something ready to wow my friends and family

But if it's a three hour class on double-knitting for warm outerwear like cardigan coats... well then, I'll be lucky to leave class with a gauge swatch and a completed left cuff.

It all depends upon the goal of the instructor, and that should be made very clear in the class description.

It's important to know if you're enrolled in a project oriented or a technique oriented class

Because they're very different cows from completely different pastures.

And I'm not always sure my new students realize this.

Yes, we're coloring one particular stamped image but the lesson isn't in the stamp, it's in the process. And 90% of the time, the real learning happens at home. It's when you apply my lessons to your own life that the magic happens.

Technique oriented classes introduce you to unfamiliar products, new ideas, and uncommon processes

They rip you out of your comfort zone and rearrange your thinking process in order to change the way you approach future projects.

So while I can spot the flaw and then correct a student's grip or an unproductive stroke pattern, the real progress is made between my student's ears as they practice and perfect their technique.

And that's far more valuable than leaving class with a birthday card for Aunt Minnie's 98th coming up next month.

In a project oriented class, you should leave class with something that resembles the instructor's sample

Which can be great. What you see is what you'll produce. You're getting exactly what you paid for and there's a one to one correlation between what you learned and what you carry out the door.

So when your husband asks "What'd you do today, honey?" you can show him Aunt Minnie's card and beam with pride. It's pretty obvious where your $15 went.

But here's where I kinda feel bad for my students...

Because "What'd you do today, honey" for my class members results in a dog-eared handful of half colored images  with several gigantic oops areas, 2 pages of scribbled class notes, and a few handouts that read like Greek to the rest of the world.

"Oh, uhm... okay. I hope you had fun though."  Yeah, the general public is NOT going to be blown away by your classroom efforts.

Which is sad. Because they can't see that the hamster in your head has just run a marathon.

When you work on a technique instead of a product, your brain starts making new connections. "Hey, I can do this on that other stamp" and "Whoa, that'll improve my next thingamabobber" or "I can't wait to show Sharon how to do this to her stuff."

That's incredible value. Totally invisible. But seriously valuable.

So get ready all you new students-of-mine, when someone asks you "what'd you do today in class?" this is what you say:

Don't ask me what I made, ask me what I learned

It's not as impressive as a birthday card but remember, your hamster has some serious muscles now!

VanillaArts.com