5 tips for hosting your creative workshop
It might surprise you to know that I taught art for many years, before I took a deep dive in to workshop hosting! On many occasions I was asked to create a custom experience or workshop for an event. This naturally lead me to workshop hosting. One of the reasons, that I felt so excited to host workshops was the ability to spend more time working on my own art form. I realized that some of those tips and tricks that i learned over many years of teaching might be helpful to you, when you begin to host your first workshops. I truly feel that these can be applied to any creative workshops- but for the sake of this article- I will focus on craft!
1. Be Prepared
First and foremost, you will want to prepare for your upcoming workshop that you are going to host. This means everything from the content, structure and workshop setting. You will have supply set-ups and demonstration materials. You will need to consider table sizes, which size you need and how many. You might consider the logistics of each setting, are people working in small groups or listening to a panel. You will want to have any hand-outs or visuals ready in advance. Some people may find it helpful to work from a checklist, leading up to the workshop.
2. beginner mindset
When thinking about the workshop and program you will provide. You will want to consider what questions your guest might have and what you hope to teach them. One way to do this is to reflect upon what questions you had when you first started practicing your your craft or technique. What did you really want to learn? What were you curious about? What was challenging? Write those things down and make sure to include them.
3. CREATE OPPORTUNITIES
I find that my guests like to have opportunities to connect. They enjoy making meaningful connections to the content of the program, yet also they love to connect in person and in virtual workshops. Taking a workshop, where you continue your education is both social and academic. During the instructional portion, I like to impart a decent amount of information and then in the studio time when everyone is working. I provide opportunities for participants to share something about themselves (think: fun facts! or their work to make connections.
4. Provide Structure
Which brings me to another important aspect of the workshop day, providing structure. I will share with you how I generally structure workshops and events. I recommend starting with an introduction, both to yourself and amongst guests. Then, I continue with an introduction to the process! This usually includes some type of visuals and leads to a demonstration or short lecture (depending on the workshop!) After, the demonstration I open it up to studio time, which is the time dedicated to the process of art making or technique (it could be writing or yoga!- it really just depends on your workshop topic!) So here is how I break things down:
I am so passionate about helping other artists and creatives host their own workshops that I have created The Creative Workshop Formula, specifically for creatives who wish to create their own in-person or online workshops and courses. This currently includes a strategy session where we can discuss any obstacles or questions about hosting.
5. Relax and Enjoy!
Last but not least, take a deep breath and relax. You know the subject well and you are prepared for your workshop day. No matter what happens, be sure to relax and enjoy the moment! If there are some small changes or things that come up- take mental notes. Remember, only you know the whole plan and it's likely that if your guests are learning and you are relaxed, then you will be able to help them more effectively. This is the big day that you have been planning and dreaming of and it's sure to create lasting memories. If it goes well, you will certainly have more opportunities to share your workshop again and again as you grow.
I truly believe that anything you teach in person can most likely be taught online- and both are good places to start!
3 reasons why I host and you can too!
Today, I am going to share a secret with you! As many of you know, I have been hosting workshops now for about 5 years now, plus teaching and mentoring artists for many more. Over the years, my interest in Interior design and the fine arts led me to create a textile line. I found myself wanting more time to dedicate to the development of my textile practice and work out in my sunny garden studio...which is when I discovered workshop hosting and I want to share it with you. Below, am going to tell you 3 reasons why I host workshops and why I think you should host workshops too.
One awesome reason to host workshops is the income that you can generate from Day 1. At first, the income started off smaller, but I still made a nice profit! I tested the market to find out more about what I could charge. Next, I did a little research to to see what other similar people were charging. Now, I create a valuable experience around what I'd like to earn. Hosting a few workshops has earned me additional thousands monthly. Some offshoots of workshop hosting are private lessons, pop-ups, small group privates, corporate workshops, and brand collaborations. Now, I find my self only committing to the workshops that I really want to teach, and when it is in line with what I currently earn from my expertise. Earning more can give you the funds to explore your art form along with the freedom of having your time back, which is very important.
Just 3 years ago, I held my first Indigo Shibori workshop. Shibori is a Japanese an art form that has captivated me for many years. I first fell in love with the spontaneous nature of the patterns. Along with indigo and the varying shades of natural blue that arise from the dye vat after multiple dips.
At that time, I felt like I was stuck on a hamster wheel of hourly teaching commitments, with little to no time to practice my chosen art form, except on the weekends. Have you ever felt that way? Like your time is so limited? If so, I truly believe that hosting in-person workshops, is one way to get more time to practice and study what interests you. When you teach and prepare a workshop, you grow and discover new things about the medium.
Not only will you grow from workshop hosting, but you will inspire others. It feels really good to share something that I have devoted my time to learn and practice. You will find all sorts of people to inspire, from those that need a creative outlet from their jobs to other artists. I love it when other textile designers take my class. I think it's so awesome that we can inspire each other. About a year ago, a group of 3 friends had attended a pop-up of mine. A few months later, she was dyeing things in her kitchen using avocados as dye. The next month, she and her friends purchased my Shibori Kit. Later they reportedly up-cycled a good portion of their whites in their wardrobe. I love to hear stories like this because it means that something I shared, made someone think differently about their clothing and in this way expanded their world view. Isn't that amazing? I genuinely believe that each of us has something wonderful to share and that is exactly what we are here to do.
The Next steps...
If earning more income, growing your skill set, and inspiring others sounds just perfect to you! Then, I would love to share with you the Creator's Path. This page is dedicated to helping creatives launch their best workshops in 2020 and beyond. Be the first to learn all tips and strategies about how to start and grow your workshop business when you sign-up to grab your freebie below. I really can't wait to get others started on this road to success from the beginning. I will be sharing everything that I know, including some shortcuts, so you get to benefit from all of my trials and learning!
Local, Regional, and Artisanal Gift Guide
Are you wrapping up presents for all of your gifting? Perhaps you are like me, and you enjoy hunting down that perfect gift for giving? When I (have the time) to seek out items that I think people will love, it feels super creative! These are items that are not always readily found on Amazon and can be so inspiring. This year, I felt lucky to have participated in several in person events from the Modern Artisan market to Renegade Craft in Seattle over the weekend. I put together these gift guides for you, a tradition that I began 2 years ago and counting!
Without further ado, the brands and products that you find below will focus on handmade, local and regional brands that are making their mark on the marketplace through their inspiring products and sustainable practices.
No Tox Life- Vegan bath, body and cleansing products. These guys are taking sustainability to another level with their packaging free products- check out their zero waste lavender earl grey lip gloss.
Kindcraft collection- I'm a fan of their looped together woven jewelry collection made by artisans.
Patagonia, now has a recycled wool collection featuring beanies and headbands that make great gifts!
Domecil- chic linen aprons for the chef or artist in your life. These can be found in person at Domecil at Fig Earth Supply for those local to Los Angeles. Linen is widely considered the most sustainable fiber on the planet due to it's low water consumption.
Art of Essentials- handmade skincare by Aromatherapist Flin K. Grant. My favorites are the face serum, charcoal scrub, and Love Letter essential oil roller blend. These can all be custom ordered via her Facebook Page through direct messaging.
Ground Up Nut Butters- I had the pleasure of meeting the founder Caroline this weekend in Seattle and sampling her awesome nut butter blends. This Portland based business is all about supporting women from the "ground-up!" I highly recommend the Holiday Tasting Flight for gifting which comes with a cute wooden spoon. Individually, the Golden Milk, Snickerdoodle, and Salted Eggnog flavors are delicious.
John Kelly Chocolates make a yummy teacher gift! I found them here in L.A. at Whole Foods on 3rd.
This weekend, I sold every single one of my Shibori hand-dyed scarves and I have limited gold threaded holiday collection & hand loomed organic cotton shawls for you! All are ethically sourced and naturally dyed by me, in my dye garden. These are high fashion, low impact pieces that are a pleasure to gift.
Last but not least, I shared a booth with Samantha Slater Studio and became a big admirer of her work. Personally, I love her earring collection which is totally minimal, hip and unique.
I am entering the holiday season feeling grateful to have met so many seekers of handmade in Seattle, and pleased to make a mindful impact through my own holiday shopping.
I hope this guide helps you to find fantastic one-of-a kind last minute gifts, if you are still shopping! Keep in mind these are small business like me, so get your orders in now for gifting.
Hit reply to share your favorites with me, so next time around, we can make community guides and spread the eco-friendly & handmade love collectively.
HI, I'M HILARY.
This is where I share inspiration for a hand-crafted lifestyle from natural dye methods, textile surface techniques, and the best of contemporary California design. I love dreaming up products for a sustainable art filled home. I offer workshops to inspire you to live your best life by connecting you to your creativity and others. I hope to meet you in person at one of my current craft workshops for creatives like you! Join my tribe to receive your first free video on Shibori folding with me.
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