I recently ran my first art workshop up in Sheffield. I’ve run many IT training courses in the past but this was a different type of challenge. The workshop arose through a contact I made at the Wirksworth festival back in September. One of the visitors, Jo, was involved with a printing group up in Sheffield and loved the emulsion transfer method I was using and thought that her group would like me to run a workshop on the technique.
I found that running a art workshop has much personal benefit and I would argue that you learn as much as the attendees themselves. The beauty of art is that the attendees (hopefully) end up with a very tangible result at the end. The plan was for me to demonstrate the technique then each of the ladies would then have a practice on calico and then move to try the technique on a couple of stretched canvases that I had provided.
The first results were pretty good but I did find myself fine tuning the process a little – particularly with the pressure applied during rubbing off the paper from the transferred print. But the results on canvas were overwhelmingly excellent and all of the attendees ended up with great pieces of work.
One suggestion before the workshop was that I looked over the photographs that each of the ladies were going to bring to the session to ensure that they would give good results. This was very useful as it allowed me to crop the images, improve the contrast but also I provided an alternative image that had been vectorised in Illustrator. This seemed to go down very well and a learning point for any workshop would be to suggest looking over any resources that attendees propose to bring to a workshop to ensure they are in the correct format and will give optimum results.
I would definitely encourage all emerging artists to consider running their own workshop. Yes, it’s a daunting thing to do the first time but if you set clear expectations up front, price it accordingly and prepare well you become more of a facilitator and the day will pretty much run itself. Give it a go!