Have you ever been to a workshop/seminar where you couldn’t wait for the lunch break? Maybe it was because you weren’t engaged with the topic or the speaker wasn’t very inspiring or you were just hungry!
At my recent polymer clay workshop, the reaction of the learners - I use this term because that is what people are doing as opposed to attendees where people are ‘attending’ but are they learning? That is another topic. Anyway, the workshop started well and progressed nicely with learners practicing new techniques. Around 130pm, I suggested we break for lunch AND no one wanted to! They were too engrossed in creating their jewellery. It was great to watch them so determined to manipulate the clay and to come up with their own ideas – those ‘what if I’ or ‘I could do this’ moments – creativity filled the room.
What was it about this workshop that seemed to ‘work’ for the learners (I wondered)?
1.Time – they were given time to listen to instructions and work at their own pace. You need time to practice techniques and with polymer clay – there is no right or wrong – so you can be relaxed about making your creations.
2. Active – they were actively ‘doing’ which is a crucial part of learning anything new; it’s great to listen and watch a PowerPoint slideshow but to participate in the clay softening process and rolling the clay embeds the learning. They will remember for the next session the basic steps that need to be done before actually creating a piece.
3. Phones off rule – there wasn’t one! This actually didn’t occur to me to say. After all, we are all adults and sometimes we need to have our phones on. But as one learner said at the end ‘I don’t think we looked at our phones more than a couple of times’. The workshop was 6 hours long during the week – how many times do you check your phone on a business day?
4. Conversation – plenty of this all around the table. People getting to know each other and asking each other questions like ‘how did you do that?’ – lots of information sharing.
5. Jewellery – at the end of the day, they all created their own piece of jewellery (or two or three!)
“‘Can't wait for the next one! Highly recommended.” (VJ)
“What an absolutely brilliant day creating, making, networking, laughing, relaxing and chatting.” (ES)
“It was an amazing experience - totally absorbing and creative - yet friendly and informal” (SSM)
Imagine you as one of those relaxed learners in a workshop designed to help you explore your creativity, meet other people and produce a piece of jewellery. You won’t want any lunch either!
If you have any questions about workshops, contact me.