Although we are only a quarter way through 2018 I have already given mosaic lessons to 10 beginners.
I run a one day Beginners’ Mosaic Lesson, not on a regular basis but ad-hoc as and when people request them. Once someone is interested and a suitable date confirmed, then I will see if other people would like to join. I have built up a small waiting list and I also go onto the local Facebook Groups.
I stated giving lessons a few years ago when people said they liked my mosaics and would I show them how to get started. I have done a lot of training in my past professional life so am not daunted by running lessons. Over the years the format has been tweaked and changed and at last I can say I am confident I have the correct format.
In doing a one day lesson there have been a few problem areas that I have struggled to get right. Firstly, some people are a bit over ambitious – they go on the internet (which is a wonderful thing but……) see all the lovely mosaic art and assume they will be able to achieve those results in a day. Some can but others can’t – the more complex a piece is, the more cutting required – and that is the hard/fiddly bit. Until they start on their piece it is difficult for me to judge how easy they are going to find it, by which time they may already have in mind a very complex design.
Secondly, I used to have a huge range of ‘base’ materials for people to select from, all different shapes and sizes. I did this because I wanted people to see the range of items that can be mosaiced. However, this often gave the problem of too much choice – where do I start, indoor or outdoor, decorative or functional? And this was before they even thought of a design. Also, people like to go big and then found they ran out of time. Ideally the aim is to go home with a completed mosaic.
Thirdly, in order for the mosaic to be complete, it needs to be grouted. To make a mosaic, give it time to dry, settle and then to grout and clean it is a big ask in one day. Should people come back another time, should it be a 2 day course, should I demonstrate grouting and they do it later at home? All my lessons always ran over time. People were wanting to stay to finish, which was not a problem but…… as it was every lesson there was obviously a common factor involved – it must be me!!
My friend Sue recently had a beginner lesson with her sister Fiona and I asked her for some honest feedback. The comments she made have been constructive and invaluable. The key point that stood out was that I needed to “manage expectations”. Whilst I don’t want to rain on people’s creative parade, I did realise that I needed to keep a tighter rein on things, after all, I am the one who is aware of poential issues.
As is often the case, once you realise the problems, it is quite easy to find solution. I now issue all people with the same base, it can go indoors or outdoors and eliminates all that mind-boggling choice so early in the day. People can still be as complex or basic as they want on their design. I have also made several samples so they get ideas, see different style and techniques and therefore have an idea of what they may expect to achieve in the time available. I know that if someone is really struggling to complete their piece in time, I can always help out at the last minute as I know the piece isn’t too big to get finished.
This model seems to be working well and the recent sets of lessons finished well within time with all pieces grouted and completed. Happy new mosaic makers and a happy, relaxed teacher!
If you would like to come on a lesson drop me an email and I can send you an Information Sheet with all the details. I usually have 4 per session but can cater for larger groups as requested.
“I had a really enjoyable day being creative and with wonderful support from Rosanna.” Gilly Lodge
“I had a great afternoon creating with Rosanna and am still enjoying the tangible results of my work! Rosanna guided us expertly in selecting materials and with techniques and tips to get the best out of our chosen designs. I can’t recommend it highly enough.” Phil Duncan
“Thanks so much for a very enjoyable and packed day yesterday. We are both thrilled with our mosaics – mine has buffed up nicely and I keep looking at it and touching it!” Sue Elliott