But Where Can I Learn This Stuff? Figuring out where you can learn the things that you want to learn: Part 2

Last time we talked about some awesome locations to go to to learn new things. But what if I can’t go someplace special for classes?

The first thing that I looked for when I wanted to learn some new skills was online classes.

Here are just a few of the internet options.

Webinars                                                                                                                      They can be anything from spiritual awareness and meditation classes to how to run a business, or use Facebook ads. Sometimes they are free (but they will often try to sell you something), or they can be for a fee. I have done a LOT of webinars, sometimes live, and sometimes (usually if my schedule did not allow me to attend in person) a recorded version. I have learned a lot and generally enjoy webinars. I like it when they give you access to a recording, because I sometimes NEED to hear something more than once for it to sink in.

E-books                                                                                                                     E-books are simply books that can be downloaded from the web. Like webinars they can be free or for a fee. They are usually much cheaper than the paper versions of the book (if a paper version is even available). I have quite a few e-books, some free and some for pay. Most of them are pretty decent. I generally prefer to print out my books – I actually like to read paper books. This can be a problem if you do not have a good quality color printer. I keep my print-outs organized in 3 ring binders.

Video Classes                                                                                                            These can be simple one shot downloads that are free on You Tube, complex multi-part classes, or anything in between. Some of the video classes also have notes that you can download.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Video Classes with teacher support.                                                                             You have access to video classes online and a teacher that you can email with questions. I have taken one of these classes, and I really enjoyed it. I was given access to a website with the class videos and I could ask as many questions as I wanted about each video. I could also see all of the questions and answers from the other students.

Your favorite search engine is your friend when it comes to finding these resources, but you can sometimes locate them through Facebook special interest groups, too. Here are just a couple that I have had success with.

Craftsy.com has classes on everything from quilting, to jewelry, cake baking to fine art, this is the place to find reasonably priced classes that you can do at your own pace from home.

Art Jewelry Magazine http://art.jewelrymakingmagazines.com/ makes a LOT of different classes available online.

Interweave, which I originally knew as Interweave Press, is an excellent source of magazines, videos and so much more. They have online communities with specific interests. I have a HUGE number of their publications, and even several of their actual books. Once you sign up with them they also have a LOT of free items available for download. http://www.interweave.com/

Lynda.com is an amazing site that provides a HUGE selection of video tutorials. They require a membership, but if you are an avid learner the membership can pay for itself very quickly. Yes, I have a membership!

I hope that this blog inspires you to search for your own source of new inspiration! Enjoy!

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But Where Can I Learn This Stuff? Figuring out where you can learn the things that you want to learn.

I am a class junky.

I just finished taking six days of classes and watching at least an additional dozen demonstrations before and after class. My classmates included people from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Honduras and Guatemala. I am officially tired and suffering from information overload, but I am also very happy and looking forward to actually using all of the new skills that I have learned.

Where did I go? The Rio Grande Winter Workshop in Albuquerque, NM. Why there? I have been to Rio events before and they bring together some of the finest jewelry and metal working teachers in the world, all in one location, for six jam-packed days. Vendors like Fordham, Swanstrom Tools, Fretz Hammers, and Bonny Doon Press, just to name a few, send representatives and do demos, and in some cases actual classes. In addition to their Winter Workshop they also do individual classes during the rest of the year on a variety of jewelry topics.

But what if you can’t travel to a major international class event? What can you do closer to home?

Regional schools greatly reduce the need to travel large distances.

In North Carolina the Penland School of Crafts is a major learning location for all sorts of arts and crafts.  Most regions of the US have locations like this. Haystack Mountain School of Crafts on Deer Isle, Maine is open year round, but holds most of its classes during the summer.

There are also plenty of schools that specialize in a particular area of study. For example, in the Boston area, MetalWerx runs jewelry classes all year, plus special workshops in the summer.

In Corning, New York, the Corning Museum of Glass runs a huge number of glass working classes – everything from making glass beads to glass sculpture and glass blowing.


CorningGlassTower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Beyond the private schools, community colleges often provide a very affordable and local alternative for learning. When I lived in California I used to drive down to Monterey Peninsula College once a week for an all day jewelry class. They have extensive continuing education classes in addition to their regular curriculum, and occasional weekend workshops.

Adult Education programs often have a wide selection of classes available, usually at very affordable prices. Local craft stores, both privately owned, and big box, often teach a wide variety of classes that relate to the products that they sell.


Quilt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But what do you do if you don’t live close to the classes that you want to take, or the classes do not fit your schedule? I will discuss that next time!