Tuesday Mar 5 2019
As the Gardner Village blogger, I’ve observed and written about many classes over the years. As a Gardner Village fan, I’ve also taken many classes while off the clock. This got me thinking—is the class experience any different if the blogger isn’t crashing the party to report on things? The answer: yes and no.
No, the overall experience didn’t seem to change for those in the class. They had a ball whether or not they were being photographed and interviewed by a blogger. But, yes, my vantage point did change. I went from a not-so-subtle fly on the wall to an active participant. This meant I got to feel all the feels that students likely experience… moments of nervousness (what if my work stinks?)… anticipation (I love having something on the calendar to look forward to!)… and joy (doing something different and meeting new friends is such fun!). I learned that these emotions add so much to the overall experience and are as much fun as the actual learning.
So rather than simply report on another Village class, I thought it would be interesting to change things up a bit. Let’s look at Gardner Village classes, not from the view of a spectator, but from the position of a fellow student. No fancy photos taken with my jumbo camera, just pics snapped on my phone. No quotes from instructors or attendees, just notes from me. I hope the shifted perspective gives you a little more first-hand knowledge of what you can expect in a Gardner Village classroom, learning a new skill in one of our shops.
NO FRIENDS FREE? NO PROBLEM!
My ability to take a class used to hinge on whether or not I could find someone to go with me. That changed when I saw how many students happily fly solo. I quickly realized classes are awesome whether or not you have a partner in crime. Either way, you’ll leave with a bunch of new friends. There’s just something about learning a new thing together that creates an instant connection. Plus, the classes The Village shops offer are smaller/more intimate, so it’s easy to get to know those around you.
I met this pretty mother-daughter duo in the wreath class I took at Posh Paperie. Getting to know them made the class all that much more enjoyable and memorable!
GIVE THE BEST GIFT--TOGETHERNESS!
Do you have people in your life who are impossible to buy for? Or maybe you’d rather give the gift of a fun memory than that of a thing? Either way, a class can be an excellent choice. My friend Michelle and I have been going this route with our birthdays for the past few years. Gardner Village classes are affordable, so you can go together for about the same price you’d pay to treat your birthday girl or boy to a meal and wrapped surprise. Plus, you’ll both walk away with happy memories AND something neat you’ve made. Perfect!
CLASS #1: Wreath Making at Posh Paperie
Posh Paperie only just opened, but they’re already in the full swing of things with classes. As a passionate paper crafter, I couldn’t resist taking the coffee filter wreath class last month. When my friend Michelle and I walked in (this was my birthday gift to her), we were greeted to a cute doodled wreath, marking our seat at the table. LOVE! Right away, I knew we were going to have a grand time and create something that was Pinterest worthy!
And a grand time, we had! Oh, sure, I experienced a hiccup or two when my filters wouldn’t stick to my wreath base, but Sandy, our awesome instructor, came to my rescue with a glue gun adjustment. From there, it was smooth sailing. As we worked to assemble our puffy masterpieces, Sandy shared bonus tips and ideas for coloring the filters. We all also spent much time gabbing and snacking on the provided treats and drinks and enjoying some VIP shopping in one of Utah’s cutest shops. All in all, it was a pretty sweet night out!
CLASS #2: Hand Lettering at The Art Cottage
I had a few butterflies going into this one. Our instructor, Kari Durant, has pretty impressive lettering skills. How would mine ever compare? But my inner voice was quickly quieted when our instructor gave us a workbook and tracing paper. She helped us break down the process of lettering and went into details on her fav supplies to use and why.
That’s what I love about taking a live class vs. one online—you get that firsthand chitchat. You also get to test drive the teacher’s supplies to see what appeals to you, which is so nice as a consumer. Try before you buy.
My friend Amanda joined me for this one. She said she wanted to improve her chicken scratch. I shared her goal. Amanda had zero experience lettering. I’ve taken classes before. Our varying experience levels didn’t matter. We both felt challenged, had fun, and learned a bunch.
Oh, and I mustn’t forget the cherry on top of this workshop—gelato! Classes at The Art Cottage aren’t complete without sampling some of their delicious Italian ice cream.
Class #3: Beginning Crochet at Willow Hill Yarn Company
Last May, my girl Shiloh and I were two tired mamas in desperate need of a break (we both had two-year-olds at the time, need I say more? ;) ), so we signed up for this two-part class at Willow Hill. It was so nice having not one but two outings to count on. Even just an hour or two away from the usual routine can make such a difference when it comes to being happy and present for your children.
Just a couple of tired mamas looking for a break.
Taking a class that involves a brand new skill can be intimidating. You can’t help but look around the room and see how others are progressing compared to you. Don’t worry about it. We all do it. And then we quickly realize it’s not a race. It’s simply a time to go at our own paces. It’s also an excellent opportunity to learn from others. You benefit from questions your fellow students ask, and it’s nice to be able to look at what the person next to you is doing when you find yourself feeling stuck.
Of course, the Willow Hill instructors (like cute Gina, seen here) are also right there, ready to give you one-on-one instruction and plenty of helpful pointers along the way.
My partner on this adventure has gone on to make doll clothes for her children and a gorgeous washcloth for me. Remember, she and I went in without a lick of experience, and it only took two classes for her to start making pretty things. Alas, I cannot say the same, but that’s all on me. After our class, I set my crochet hooks aside and that’s where they’ve been ever since. :( This is yet another reason why I find classes so valuable. They get me to actual do things vs. pinning ideas and dreaming about making. The motivation is magical!
More to Come
That’s it for Part 1 of this three-part series. Next week, I’ll take you inside a furniture painting class at Aunt Elsie’s Trinkets and Treasures. Here’s the test—can you really paint kitchen cabinets without sanding the business off of them first? I’ll let you know soon. And the week after next, I’ll conclude with a sweet mommy-and-me class I shared with my daughter and very special guest of honor (pssst... there's a hint in the pic below), as well as a quick drop-in experience you can do nearly any time you visit Gardner Village, with or without a reservation.
Thanks for going on this learning adventure with me. I hope to see you across the table from me at a future class sometimes soon.