Getting the Most from a BeadFX Class

Classes an integral part of BeadFX. Our instructors love to teach and enthusiastically share their knowledge to students. We asked our instructors what tips they can give to students to make their learning experience better – and we got lots of answers! Some of the suggestions are presented here; others will follow in future posts.

Be on time – even a little early
Arriving a little early lets you take a breath, find a seat and get settled. “Respect the instructor and the other students, by planning to arrive on time,” requests Anne Marie Desaulniers who specializes in mixed media. “If you’re delayed for some reason, call with an estimated time of arrival.” If you are late, please allow the instructor to proceed with the class. The late student can help herself by reviewing the instructions, threading the needle (if using) and putting her beads out in preparation for the class. The instructor will catch you up as soon as she can.

Come prepared
Re-read the class information prior to coming – make sure you review what to bring and what to expect, says Marilyn Gardiner, a chainmaille instructor. You may need to bring items- pliers, beads, scissors, needles – for a class. Frequently there are tools available in the studios and classroom. If you need them help yourself (remembering to put them back). Many students come with a ‘class kit’ that travels with them to every class. It frequently includes a variety of threads, needles, pliers, measuring tape or small ruler, scissors and other assorted items in small box, organizer or even a fabric lunch bag.

Allow yourself to learn
You take a class to discover something new – not because you already know it. Learning a new technique requires time and practice and is not a race among the students. Everyone learns differently; some students require lots of demos to see how to it is done. Other students prefer to read the instructions. Instructors are prepared to teach how you need to learn. Also, handmade doesn’t mean perfectly made; your second attempt will be better than your first. “Learning is a skill too – so the more classes you take, the better you will get at learning,” adds Dwyn Tomlinson, a lampworking instructor.

Have fun
Taking a class is a social activity. Everyone is there to learn the same thing. Be supportive of your classmates and help cheer them on!

Speak up!
“Don’t sit quietly if you are really frustrated, let the instructor know,” says Marilyn Gardiner. “Be patient when you need one-on-one help from the instructor and he/she is working with another student – but do make it known that you also need assistance.” It can be challenging for the instructor, but don’t worry, the goal is for everyone to get the help they need.

Allow others to learn
Other students may be having difficulty. Be sensitive to those around you; lots of chatter may make it hard for others to concentrate. If you are able to help a neighbor, please do so – the instructor will appreciate the help!

Be aware of the prerequisites
All instructors couldn’t stress this enough – read the prerequisites! If it says intermediate level and you have no experience with the technique, it’s not the class for you. Watch for a beginner level class or email the class coordinator ( to see if a beginner class is coming up. If a beginner level class isn’t available, then a private class may be able to be arranged.

Remember the kit fees
Many instructors have had to deal with the awkwardness of students not being aware of the kit fees or objecting to pay them. Kit fees are payable to the instructor the day of the class. Note that some instructors also charge HST because teaching is their full-time business.

Whats the difference between class fees and kit fees? Class coordinator Pamela Kearns explains that class fees reflects the rate of pay paid to the instructor, just like the hourly rate for any employee. Kit fees refer to the stuff – beads, resin, fabrics, wire, metal – purchased by the instructor so you can complete the project. The kit fee helps to reimburse the instructor and is usually much less expensive than if you purchased items separately yourself.

Watch for more tips and hints in future blogs!

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