Friday, October 16, 2009


Freeform may be the ultimate process class as with some instruction and suggestions it becomes what you bring to it. I'm teaching falling leaves lariat in Dallas next weekend.

Process was the overwhelming response to yesterdays question, Project or Process. I'm finding myself a tad confused however, because if I have a look at the majority of venues bringing artists in to teach, there is a project. And if it's a guest instructor, it seems that it is a largeish project, one worth of spending two day so time and money on.

Kate said ' she was mining the project for the process' and I think that must be what is happening. I think it's a shift as we get a larger and larger population of experienced beaders.

Liz likes to take a component and apply 'artistic license' something I am totally for. I love it when a design is taken in one's own personal direction.

Katie said, 'I love the pieces' and so do I. I like for the creativity to be part of the technical process, so while I am working I can change up color, size, finish or style of beads and get something new.

Lexi, Nancy and Glen all thought both project and process was the right answer, a project which allowed you to explore process but change it up to be your own.

So as I continue to create designs destined for sharing I will give this more thought. And after this weekends class I will have some more practical experience to ponder.


kate mckinnon said...

The reason that there are so few process classes is that all of the shows demand "project."

As an instructor you have to trick the system, and teach process no matter what the project. I think you do a great job of that.

VanBeads said...

I agree with Kate's comment, I was told when I submitted to teach at a few places that they don't want a general or vague class like my previously offered "Beadweaving Boot Camp". They want to see a tangible result.

On that note, last night, I found myself trying to explain to my friend, who is a new beader, what a Master Class was. (It was not made any easier by the fact that it was nearly midnight and that we had both consumed a couple of beers over the course of the evening, LOL!) But the best way I could think to explain it to her was that a Master Class was not so much a focus on a particular project but more like a lesson in how to use the mechanics of a particular stitch or technique in combination with artistic aesthetics. Does that make sense?

Personally, I love projects that teach a process. That's one of the reasons I love your work and your book - there is just an incredible wealth of knowledge about the versatility of RAW that you convey in your projects!

Naan Pocen said...

Unfortunately, the beading community here in Italy is really small and very widely spread. In the town I live in, I am the only bead weaver, I hear there are two more in the neighbouring town. It's really sad as I am self taught and wish I have classes to attend.

Judith said...

For me it's the process. I'm one of the students that structured project teachers hate. I take workshops to pick the process out of the project and end up doing my own thing in class time.

I just finished doing an advanced bead crochet workshop with all of the participants returning for a 4th year. They threw the project out the window and took the process to new levels of "what if" creativity. None of them finished anything and I told them that they could have purchased the instructions a lot cheaper. They declared that then they would lose the creative give and take of the workshop. I love it when I get to teach in those circumstances.

Beverly Ash Gilbert said...

I have noticed that same trend - most classes are project orientated. I think because the end result is so beautiful and people are seduced by the idea of being able to create that which they already see - fulfilling an expectation.

Freeform, however, is a bit uncomfortable - will my work be good? What will others think? It is much more personal and therefore a little bit scary.

As you know, all of what I do is freeform, so I run into this all of the time with both my students and myself. I warn people that in freeform work, there is always a time when you don't like the piece you are working on. It is usually at that point that your piece takes you in a direction that is counter to your preconceived notions of what it would be. In fact when your left brain needs to give over to your right!

Pushing through those creative boundaries - tough, but oh so wonderful! It is all about the process!

Pepita said...

This is an interesting discussion as I see a difference between beading workshops in The Netherlands and what I experienced in workshops at beadshows.

In The Netherlands it is technique oriented (I prefer that term over process). Many bead shops offer workshops in order to sell beads. The workshop is really inexpensive. A basic technique is demonstrated and then the people in the workshop apply their own creativity to the technique. The result is all different end products. The people in the workshop pay for their beads afterwards and it can be quite hard to control how much you end up speinding for the workshop as a whole.

For bead shows or jewelry designers teaching on location it is impossible for the instructor to take a wide range of materials (like a bead shop) with them. So hence the project. Which of course has a range of different techniques embedded in them. For the participant it is easier to control cost.

Of course then there is a large group of people who are either beginners of just not that creative but still love to bead. For those groups, projects with embedded techniques are wonderful. It helps them develop skills and gain experience.

So different situations ask for different approaches (technique vs. project) I think. So it is not a choice between the two of them. Besides projects always include techniques. It is a matter of what you beading customer wants and what is practically possible.