Thursday, July 12, 2018

Getting Started

Newer weavers sometimes ask me how they can get started in terms of teaching.

In this day and age, there are all sorts of opportunities that were simply not dreamt of when I started.  The internet is a powerful tool for getting your name 'out there'.

If the person isn't a teacher by training, I suggest that they begin by teaching locally, building their topics, developing guild programs, making up the samples needed to illustrate what they are presenting.

If they are already experienced teachers, they can start by submitting articles to publications.  There aren't all that many now, but there are some.

They can apply to conferences.  'Cold' applications need to be well presented.  If you aren't a 'name' (and even if you are, conferences need things like a bio, headshot, a brief summary of your experience and some photos), then you might have to work a little harder to convince a committee to add you to their roster of instructors.

A conference is not cheap.  Not for the organizers, and therefore not for the participants.

Personally, I am approaching the organization of the ANWG conference here next year by increasing the fee being paid to the instructors to more closely align with where fees should be (IMHO).  The fees paid to the instructors should not be the smallest line item in a conference budget (again IMHO).

With that in mind, we looked for people who were well known internationally, nationally, regionally, locally.  Our objective was to have 'name' instructors that would (hopefully!) draw people based on name recognition.

We also wanted to have people from the region in order to keep the travel portion of the instructors fee as low as possible.

We also have local people who have not taught outside of our area, but who have good solid information to present and we wanted to give them a forum.

Since I have been involved in the weaving community, both teaching and publishing, for a rather long time, I know - or knew of - most of the people on our teaching roster.

I was aware of their stature in the weaving/spinning/textile community.  Some of them I know just from brief encounters at textiles events (but more importantly, reports from their students).  Some I am just getting to know and look forward to getting to know them even better.

Becoming known in the textile community is not something that happens overnight.  Like a seed, it takes time to sprout and grow.  And rejections are all part of the process.

So, over the years, I started out by teaching locally.  Then I started contacting guilds further afield.  I submitted articles to magazines.  Eventually I was accepted to teach at a large conference where my name got shared further afield.

When the internet became a 'thing' I joined textile chat groups and started answering questions. My name got bandied about even further afield.

In 2002 I launched Magic in the Water and many more guilds began contacting me.  Since then I have published sample collections and self marketed them, much like I did Magic.  I have written more articles for Handwoven (next one is due out in the next issue - Sept/Oct).  I have done DVDs for Interweave, and a few on line 'seminars'.

There is no one road to getting known in the textile community.  Sometimes a little controversy generates even more interest - not always positive!

I rely on this blog to keep my name in the forefront and no longer belong to very many chat groups.  There are only so many hours in the day - so much energy to get what I need to do, done.

When I took a marketing class a long time ago, it was explained that 'marketing' was just sharing information.

Want to get started?  Share information.  In what ever way you are comfortable.

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