Sunday, December 19, 2010

Bead Jewelry Making Class Schedule

Jewelry Making Class Schedule

It's that time again. What will I teach for the next few months, do I have a sample for students to look at, do I have instructions written or ones I can easily adapt and when will I teach the classes. I doubt my potential students even give it a thought that there is much that goes into setting up a teaching schedule. And really why should they? This happens three times a year in my life for the bead store I teach for and once a year for the Bead and Button Show.

I teach at a bead store in St. Louis, Lady Bug Beads, and at the Bead and Button Show, every June in Milwaukee, and they set a deadline when they want all of my information, photos of samples to put on their web site, and the samples for jurying or in the store for display. I'm so glad to have a deadline. I do work on all of this in advance, but that deadline does give me the necessary push to actually get the samples made and figure out the schedule. I normally have classes scheduled to teach in my home as well. Right now I am in the middle of rearranging my studio and office arrangement, so that I have a little more room for my studio, better natural light for the studio and more efficient work space, so I am not going to schedule any classes in my home studio until March.

Each time I go through figuring out the schedule, I drag out my file with the lists from previous class posts over the past few years. I look through the file, thinking things like; is there a class I can resurrect, what has been popular, do I have anything new in the works? I make a big effort to add new classes each time. This keeps things fresh, while challenging me to figure out new work that my students will be interested in. In the end I come up with a list of seven or eight classes that I can rotate through the next four months or that I think the editors at Bead and Button think will sell for their amazing show each June.

Now the calendar gets pulled out. What holidays do I need to avoid? For example it doesn't work to schedule a class on Mother's Day. When do I have shows scheduled? Do I have meetings or family or friend events schedule? Does the bead store have any events on their schedule that I should avoid those days? A big red "X" goes through all of the days to avoid. With what is left over I start setting the schedule. For some reason, I really struggle with this. I wish I could figure out an efficient way to do this. I've got my calendar, I've tried spreadsheets, and it all still gives me a headache. Oh well, there is only about a day of angst.

All the while I am making the sample for each class or finding the sample I've used before. I need a great product shot of that sample, for the bead store, my web site, and Bead and Buttons catalog. And I need to write a compelling description to sell the class and a supply list for the students to go by before coming to class. That supply list can, quit often, be a bit of a challenge. Over the years I have accumulated a vast bead supply. When I make a design that entire world of beads will come into play. To make the supply list I need to name what each bead is, how many are needed and what tools will be necessary to preform the skills involved.

Finally, it does all come together. The whole process consumes me for about three or four days and that isn't making the samples. Depending on how many new classes I am planning, making samples will be going on for weeks. I'm always excited to deliver my new samples to the bead store or deliver my box of samples to the UPS Store for shipping to Bead and Button in Milwaukee. It is also a big sigh of relief when I type the last class description into my web site. I don't think about the whole process for a week or two, but then I'll have an idea for a new class and the process has started all over again.

It's all well worth it. Between Thanksgiving and through the middle of January I don't schedule any classes. No one signs up for classes, because they are so busy with family and friends. That first class I teach in January, I always find myself getting really excited. It's good to be back teaching how to make jewelry. I've always said there is a drug in beads and the zen of working with metal can't be described, so there are always students interested in the many techniques involved in the process of creating human adornment. For this I am grateful.

My schedule is now posted on my web site, 1 Bead Weaver. Lady Bug Beads is now in finalizing their list of classes that go through May. Lady Bug has six permanent teaches and various visiting instructors, either local or from out of town. Sign up for classes at the Bead and Button Show started on January 11 and my classes are already half full. I'm lovn' that. So see you in class!!!!!