5 Tips on Teaching Beading and Jewelry-Making Workshops
Business Saturday: Becoming a Beading Instructor
With Erin Siegel, jewelry-making expert, designer, beading instructor, and co-author of Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry
Q: How did you start teaching jewelry-making classes?
A: I started teaching in 2006 at the Riverwalk Bead Shop and Gallery in Amesbury, Massachusetts. I really wanted to be involved with this new local bead shop, so owner Nancy Plante agreed to let me teach some beading classes. The first class I taught was how to make simple bead-and-wire earrings. I had one student in my very first class. It was great! Since then, I’ve taught stringing, wire wrapping, finishing techniques, and knotting. My latest class is called Bohemian Knotted Earrings, inspired by a project I created for the book Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon, and Cords (Interweave, 2012).
It’s the People!
Q: What is your favorite part of teaching?
A: The students are the best part. I love meeting people with similar interests and making connections with them. I love seeing students’ eyes light up when they “get” what I’m showing them and seeing those huge smiles across their faces as they gaze upon the jewelry they just made. There’s nothing more rewarding than being a part of the joy of creating.
Q: What have you learned about teaching that you didn’t anticipate when you were first starting out?
A: I’ve learned it’s not just about the beads and making pretty things. That’s part of it, but it goes so much deeper than that. Learning jewelry-making skills makes people feel good about themselves. It gives them confidence and skills they can be proud of.
Tips on Teaching Jewelry-Making and Beading
Q: What steps should an artist who is interested in becoming a teacher take?
A: Here are my top tips:
- Take a class yourself. One of the best ways to learn to teach is to be a student first! Put yourself in the shoes of your potential students.
- Teach what you know best. If you’ve mastered wire-wrapping, teach that. If you are a wiz at crimping, teach a stringing class. You want to be sure you are proficient at the specific technique you’re going to teach.
- Schedule a mock class for friends and family to help you develop a teaching method that works for you. Teaching is a skill. It’s going to take some time, patience, and practice to be successful at it.
- Get involved in your community. Look for places in your area to hold your class. If you are lucky enough to have a local bead shop, start there first.
- Have fun! A beading class is supposed to be fun, even for the instructor. Remember, you are sharing something you are passionate about. Enjoy the process and think of it as an adventure. At the very least you will meet new beading friends to connect with, make some jewelry, and learn a whole lot in the process.
Check out Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon, and Cords, by longtime Jewelry Stringing contributors Lorelei Eurto and Erin Siegel
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