There's nothing more uplifting for me than to spend an afternoon or a day in a beading class, surrounded by like-minded people who are there to have fun, learn something new, and take home a fabulous piece of beaded jewelry. And if you're heading to Bead Fest Philadelphia this week, there are lots and lots of fabulous classes available from top-notch instructors!
But even when you've got a fabulous teacher and great classmates, there are a few things you can do to get the most out of your beading classes.
- Come prepared. This might sound simple, but it's so important that you come to your beading class prepared. Sometimes instructors have extra tools or beads that you can use, but sometimes they don't. Make sure that you have everything required for the class including a task light, a beading mat, scissors or a thread cutter, and any other special tools the instructor might require. You don't want to have to sit on the sidelines because you didn't bring the right beading tool for the job!
- Familiarize yourself with the techniques beforehand, if you can. If your beading class is for beginners and will be teaching you a brand-new beading stitch or technique, then don't worry so much about it. But if you know that you'll be making complex-shaped peyote-stitch components, you'll definitely want to brush up on your peyote-stitch skills before you get to class.
- Buy a kit. Whenever I teach a class, particularly a beginners' class, I always encourage my students to buy a beading kit from me. Beading kits for classes are great because you will have exactly the right materials for the project. Most major bead shows now require students to purchase beading kits for classes, and my advice is if there is an optional kit, it is always worth it to make sure you have the right beads and materials for the project.
- Don't be afraid to ask questions. I've had my share of timid students who just can't bring themselves to ask me a question during class. I always tell everyone at the very start that they shouldn't feel like there is a "right" or "wrong" question to ask! Your instructor is there to share their knowledge and expertise with you, and if you are confused by something or want to know more, you shouldn't hesitate to ask.
- Be patient. And while we're talking about asking questions, try to be patient with your instructor. In most classes, there is only one instructor for twelve to fifteen students – sometimes more! – and they can't be in two places at once. If you have a question and the instructor is busy with another student, take a few minutes to stretch or chat with your neighbor. Rest assured, your beading instructor will be there as soon as they are able!
What's the best beading class you've ever taken? Do you have a favorite teacher? Share it with us here on the blog and let's keep the conversation going!