I’m a class-a-holic. I love taking classes and take a LOT of them. Every metal clay conference, I would sign up for pre-conference classes. When I learned about Bead & Button back in 2005… Nirvana! All those classes in one week?? OMG! how can I clone myself to take them all?
I’ve had such fabulous classes with the most incredible teachers over the years. After each, I would ‘show & tell’ at our next guild meeting making everyone suitably jealous. Since many of our group could not afford to go to these events due to financial, work or family commitments, I decided to find out what it would take to bring some of these classes to them.
While attending the PMC Conference in 2006 at Purdue University, I went to a demo about a new material – Faux Bone – given by Robert Dancik. I was enthralled with this new stuff and knew everyone at home would be as well. At the end of the session I approached Robert and asked if he would be interested in coming to Cleveland to teach. He said he would love to! And the rest is history.
We’ve brought Robert in twice now. Other Big Name artists such as Michael David Sturlin, Susan Lenart Kazmer, J. Fred Woell, Donna Penoyer, Mary Hettmansperger and Barbara Becker Simon have all taught for us.
Last year we contacted Hadar Jacobson. She said she was teaching in Pittsburgh in March, so we scheduled our class to coincide. Pittsburgh is 2 hours east of Cleveland. The Columbus guild learned we were bringing Hadar – Columbus is 2 hours south of Cleveland. They scheduled a class as well. We now had a 3-way split on airfare and shipping of Hadar’s supplies. Each group had their own workshops, and Hadar had a week’s worth of classes in one area. A win-win. Clearly this was the way to do things.
Last August, we pooled our resources and scheduled four days of workshops with Gordon Uyehara. This time we held the classes in one place – Cleveland. Thus, the MC-3 Retreat was born. Last week we had the second annual MC-3 Retreat. Terry Kovalcik taught two workshops to a full house. We had a pot luck supper one evening and Terry gave us a demo on some of his techniques. Everyone had a fabulous time. This event has become so popular, we’re thinking of doing a full week next year and bringing in several Big Names.
All this is to say that it is much easier than you think to get a Big Name artist to come teach a class for your group: all you have to do is ask. Since this is a big part of how they make a living, they are usually more than willing to teach. There are lots of ways to keep your overhead low and make the classes affordable. And not only will you have a wonderful class with a fabulous artist right in your own home town, you will be providing an opportunity for that artist to continue to make their living with their art. A total win-win! P.S. You end up with a lot of really cool friends, too.
You can see pictures from this year’s MC-3 Retreat and read about the Retreat and our other classes here.