‘Do you do fused glass workshops?’ is a consistent question I am asked when doing craft fairs. My answer is always the same: no. This is because my studio is too small (this is true) and I have reactive dogs (true). What I don’t say, however, is ‘because I’d rather set fire to my hair’, (also true).
You may think this is extreme and wonder why I have this reaction. I’ve pondered on this and decided it’s because I catastrophise. In your head, you’re asking ‘I wonder if she does workshops?’; in my head, I’m thinking ‘what if a student cuts off their hand with some glass and I get sued and lose my house and then there’ll be nowhere for me and Rich to live and that means the dogs and rats will have nowhere to live and we’ll have to live in my car, which is tiny and only one dog will fit in it and how can I possibly decide which dog to keep and what about all my shoes…’ (btw, this isn’t bad grammar, though it is, it’s literally a running commentary in my head which features no full stops, commas or semi-colons). Anyway, you get the idea.
A Jump into the Abyss
So why, three weeks ago, did I do not one fused glass workshop, but eight? Let me explain. I was one of a group of six artists and makers who came together in two of the artists’ adjoining studios to run a craft taster weekend. Participants chose 4 out of 6 crafts to ‘taste’ the very basics of their selected crafts. It resulted in a total of 8 sessions, with 5 participants in each, over the whole weekend. This was what is known as a baptism of fire, or, what I refer to as shitting myself.
I began my first workshop. ‘Are you bleeding?’ said a kind soul as I looked down at my hand to see it leaking copious amounts of blood. Yes, thirty seconds in, I had cut myself and DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE. I made some lame joke, patched myself up with a plaster and carried on despite the blushing warmth radiating from my face like a small woodburner. However the rest of the day ticked along nicely and I even relaxed enough to take off my coat. I got home and sat in front of the TV and milked it for a bit whilst Rich got my tea. When I got to bed, I lay there for a while, musing over ‘plastergate’ until sleep took over.
A 70’s popstar
By day two, I was feeling a little more confident, (despite Rich telling me ‘you look like Alvin Stardust in that jumper’ as I left the house). First session and up comes this concerned voice ‘have you cut yourself?’ Cue blood all over my hand. By now, I was wondering if my subconscious was having a laugh at my expense, (the bastard), and had a small frisson of panic run through me.
But do you know what? It was fine. All of it. The students were fabulous: eager to get stuck in, and interested. By the end of the weekend, I was buzzing; chuffed to bits with what the students had produced and more than a little proud of myself. Of course, without the support of the other artists, I would’ve found it much more daunting. They all run workshops so I took my cues from them. They had let me practice on them a week before, which gave me confidence. I’m very grateful for their support and for trusting me to live up to their standards. I know that I know my craft extremely well and that questions wouldn’t phase me. My fear stemmed from being the centre of attention; even more so as I was dressed as Alvin Stardust.
…and on to the next one
So where does that leave things? Well, we are doing another Craft Taster weekend on 11th and 12th June 2022. I will be there…with a suitcase full of plasters.