There are many ways to learn new things - and I will be adding my perspective on different aspects in future posts, but this one is all about taking classes - as I have spent the last two days as a student, further exploring metal clay.
For me taking classes is never about going home with a finished piece of jewellery, the idea or design of the class project doesn't need to appeal, for me, it is about the techniques involved and practicing them to be able to apply them to my own designs and ideas.
Firstly - however much you think you know - in jewellery making there are many different ways of working, different approaches to design, and new tips, tricks and ideas to discover. The more people you meet, the more new ideas you get, and the more different teachers you learn from, the more you can learn, even if you take the same class with 5 different teachers, you will still learn something new each time!
You can end up taking classes and different teachers telling you contradictory things - each teacher is giving you the best of their experience and what works best for them, and this can be confusing, but for me it is a great opportunity - if one way isn't working for you, try doing things a different way - give yourself a new perspective, and then work out what works best for you. So long as it is safe, efficient and gives the desired result, how you get there can take many routes and you get to work out your own!
This weekend I have been at Metal Clay Meet Up - working with silver clay. I have been working with silver clay for maybe 9 years, done many classes in it as well as certificates, and for the last few years have been teaching with it myself, but this weekend I got to meet teachers I have not met before and worked with different variations of the clay that I don't normally use, as well as getting the time and opportunity to experiment outside of what I normally do / teach with the clay. The pieces I made over the two days are not particularly impressive, but that was not my goal, I have left with some exciting new ideas for working with the clay, and a renewed fascination for the material itself as well as fresh tips and advice for working with it.
What are your thoughts on taking classes - do you have a different view? Do share your own ideas and experiences in the comments....