Monday, July 1, 2013

How it went at Shake Rag Alley

That's me in the orange shirt, teaching the intermediate class. Lovely view through the window!

Historic Potter's House where I taught classes
My weekend was a lot of fun! I taught 2 tatting classes, surrounded by beautiful natural scenery at Shake Rag Alley in historic Mineral Point, Wisconsin.

There were 5 eager learners in the beginner's class. None of them had tatted before, but after the 3 hour class, all of them were able to get their double stitches to flip - some of the time, at least!
Me carrying supplies, with the Coach House (originally a stagecoach inn) in the background

Normally, beginning shuttle tatting does NOT make for an ideal class in the time restrictions of a workshop setting, and I'll explain why:
Workshop attendees tend to fit into one of the following 3 categories:
  • Those who actually want to learn the technique
  • Those who just want to socialize
  • Those who want to finish a project in class, and don't intend to pursue the craft any further
The Blacksmith Shop is near the Potter's House
Obviously, when promoting a beginning shuttle tatting class, it must be made clear in the advertising that students will NOT complete a project in class! Unlike crafts such as felting or basket making, shuttle tatting isn't something where the basics can be learned quickly and produce a cute enough project for a beginner to take home to impress family and friends. My beginners went home with a string of messy knots! A few got as far as rings.

The students said they wished my class had been all day, or even 2 days, but developing a physical skill takes a bit of practice each day. It can't be rushed, and if you work at it too hard and too long all at once, you'll just wear yourself out and get frustrated. I figure if I show them the "flip" of tatting, and they leave understanding how that works even if they can't quite do it in class, they've learned what they need to know in order to practice at home. Even if they then decide tatting isn't for them, they'll have a better understanding and appreciation of it when they see it.
A pretty creek!

 Besides the scenery and relaxed atmosphere, the other thing I like about Shake Rag Alley is they don't set outrageously high fees for their classes, unlike some other workshop locations. (For those who don't know, the teacher receives only a percentage of the workshop fee, the rest goes to the organization that runs the location.) 

Hopefully, my students felt like they got their "money's worth" out of my classes!

Bridge on nearby trail

Close-up of a day lily in the gardens

Ellery House at Shake Rag Alley


Jane McLellan said...

You've explained very well what a beginners' tatting class entails. I personally had one lesson and then figured out the rest for myself, so I think people who are keen to learn will do that, but many people do expect to go home with a finished item. Lovely setting you had for your lessons!

tattrldy said...

Yes, that's it exactly. One class really isn't enough time to do much more that learn the flip and get an idea how tatting works. And muscle memory is very important and doesn't come in one sitting. But it is fun to see the reactions when they do "get it" :-)

tattrldy said...

It's good to hear that your beginners got as far as they did. The more there are in a class the harder it is to teach, at least for me. With only 3 hours to teach 5 beginners and all got the flip - great job!
Thanks for sharing the pictures of the beautiful location.

Carrie said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend in beautiful surroundings. Your students were fortunate to catch on to the 'flip' so quickly.

Lace-lovin' Librarian ~ Diane said...

You certainly had a beautiful setting for your weekend classes!