Monday, 1 October 2012

Beautiful Thing

Bad workmen blame their tools, and a good pen won't help you draw any better than you already do. But horrible pens will make your fingers bleed and cause you to squint permanently.

Rather than stop drawing, I treated myself to a fountain pen that looks and feels like a dip pen. Beautiful, beautiful thing. (It's the Desk Pen from Sailor Pens, and I got mine here.)

A couple of comments on my last post, about teaching printing classes, have really made me think. The consensus seems to be that learning from a real live teacher is best, but I can't help feeling that I don't know many people who could or would drop a couple of hundred ZAR for a printing class. Someone pointed out that they'd rather not trouble-shoot on their own - but I can't think of a single printing method that doesn't require a bit of trouble-shooting, which means that trouble-shooting is the skill needed, not printing.

Looking at other classes on offer, the trend also seems to be towards classes in which people learn to make a Thing. I get the sense that a class seems more valuable if you come away with an item that you've made, rather than some skills and a whole lot of samples and test prints, and a bunch of inspiration and courage to try it alone.

So... I'm still thinking.


Cristina said...

Hello Jezze. Usually in Portugal they give classes with a product to be finish, like to make a mini patchwork pillow, or a mini purse with zipper, things like that. They pay a fee that includes all the necessary materials that they need to make that class. I'm with you about the cost of the classes, not everyone wants to learn, but to pay sometimes hangs more on their decision. Try maybe to see as it goes with the first one, and then you'll see the feedback. Good luck :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jesse!
I guess a good mix would be an answer - coming away with a finished product gives the student a sense of achievement I guess. Someone who really wants to learn will pay. I wanted to get introduced to pottery and at the time there were no openings in any classes and I would have had to wait for 4 months before getting into a course (live in a small town) so I did private classes - was very expensive but now when I look back I am glad I did it. The 1 on 1 with the teacher was important for me.
BTW I love your work!!


Jesse said...

Ah! Something about that is getting to what's bothering me about classes... one-on-one is ideal for me, both teaching and learning.

The Handmaden said...

When I did a screen printing class came away with the printed fabric and a simple calico tote bag - I don't think it's absolutely necessary to make "something".

I've learned most of my skills from books and trial and error, but always enjoy taking a class.

1. You can get immediate feedback.
2. You can meet others who are into what you're into.
3. You gain confidence and skill much faster than on your own.

I don't know how it is in your part of the world, but here people are quite happy to fork out money for a good class :)

Jane McLellan said...

Hi Jesse, I meant to comment on your last post, but never quite got there. As a person who has 'always' lived far from civilisation, I think the chance to learn on line is fantastic. Yeah, one to one, face to face, might be ideal, but we don't have to wait for ideal to learn something! I don't know much about craftsy, but they claim that their distance courses combine the best of distance learning with personal guidance - could you get some clues from them? One thing they say is that an on-line course enables the pupil to work at their own pace.

Jenni Birchwood said...

Hi Jesse, This is such a good discussion about the nature of learning and what the ultimate goal is. I am currently looking into starting a screen printing workshop, even though I have basic skills, but I am rusty. However, the biggest drawcard for me taking part in a group class is creating amongst others. A lecturer once told me that 'you can't create art in a vacuum', that there is more potential growth from being in a room of like minded people. I know that when I have spent a long time on a project, I need to come up for air and have a chat and a chuckle with others. What about you?

P.S. That pen looks so lovely, but I'm sure your work would have been just as beautiful with any other!

ibb said...

Here in Spain, all around classes is incresing. Weekend workshops, or even weekend in countryside workshops, to make something or learn something...for example, make an apron printed with rubber stamps...or something like that... would be a great teacher.

Love that butterfly!

Keri said...

Hi again. I think that you would be surprised what people would pay to learn something from you - a respected and talented illustrator and printer. You have a lot to offer, whether the person wants to learn or just have an experience. Have you seen this?: Not quite the same, but it gives an idea of what others are charging and for what.

If you are really thinking about offering classes, maybe you could structure a few options. Maybe an online workshop series (e.g., as well as a small group of say 4 people and a 1:1. Set is up as a 1-off and see what happens. I am very sure that an e-course would be a lot of work to set up, but, do it once and there is probably little to do the next time?

Another thought about physical classes - give people a basic shopping list of things to bring, or charge them so that they can take more than just their printed bits home (maybe ink, blocks, carving tools are an extra). That would be a bonus, I think. You then provide the instruction and a few extra bits, bobs and gadgets.

I think that you should go with it and see what happens!