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Boro Room -- For Boro-related tips, techniques, and questions.

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  #1  
Old 2016-06-16, 1:22pm
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Default How do you find classes?

Hey there!

So, we have a studio here in Chicago. We rent torch time, but we also teach classes.
I'm wondering, where do you find your classes if you are taking any? We promote on our FB and IG accounts, but I'm curious if there's other platforms or sites you find useful.
I just posted a special Boro Sculpture Class here on LE in the classes section, but I'm still just wondering how it works for the rest of you all.

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  #2  
Old 2016-06-16, 2:01pm
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I think I've found all the classes I've taken either through a message board like here or www.talkglass.com or on Facebook. The last time I took one nobody was using Instagram, but I see a lot of people using it primarily and some not even using Facebook any more. So I think you're definitely on the right path.

Do you have a web site? A lot of my students find and contact me through my web site.

However I have taught way more classes than I have taken. I think I've taken three. Taught probably 100. Usually they seek me out. Whether it be private classes or a studio wanting me to do a group class (which, by the way, if you want me to come teach in Chicago, just say the word and I'm on the next plane - I LOVE that city).
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  #3  
Old 2016-06-16, 3:31pm
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I think I've found all the classes I've taken either through a message board like here or www.talkglass.com or on Facebook. The last time I took one nobody was using Instagram, but I see a lot of people using it primarily and some not even using Facebook any more. So I think you're definitely on the right path.

Do you have a web site? A lot of my students find and contact me through my web site.

However I have taught way more classes than I have taken. I think I've taken three. Taught probably 100. Usually they seek me out. Whether it be private classes or a studio wanting me to do a group class (which, by the way, if you want me to come teach in Chicago, just say the word and I'm on the next plane - I LOVE that city).
Thanks for replying!
We do have a site, and we tend to get some feedback through the site. We mostly get people looking for first time lessons, groups, etc. Percentage wise, our students are likely 75% beginner to no experience. Those who use the studio are often not taking classes either. They primarily took just a few basic classes or had private lessons, and now just practice and watch youtube for lessons instead.
This means that advanced and intermediate lessons are not as easy to promote since the base we have is often not skilled enough yet (or budgets are tight in some cases).

We would love a class from you! Honestly, if you know you have a base here that you could fill a class, that would be awesome. Our problem has just been that we don't have enough here in our own base to fill these types of classes. But if a teacher knows they have enough fans/people wanting a class in or near our area, we are always willing to give it a shot! We do what we can to promote, but we often need a boost on this.
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  #4  
Old 2016-06-16, 3:45pm
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Sounds good. I'll get in touch with you. I'm pretty booked up for the rest of this year but we will see what we can work out.

As far as promoting classes goes, if you can do regular classes for people with little experience to build them up to the point where they feel ready to take a more advanced class that's a good stepping stone.

I know some people in that area so I'll get in touch with them too.
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Old 2016-06-16, 3:50pm
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Sounds good. I'll get in touch with you. I'm pretty booked up for the rest of this year but we will see what we can work out.

As far as promoting classes goes, if you can do regular classes for people with little experience to build them up to the point where they feel ready to take a more advanced class that's a good stepping stone.

I know some people in that area so I'll get in touch with them too.
That sounds great!
Yeah, we have been expanding our classes more and more this year to try and offer more options so people will continue with classes. My partner hasn't been full-time with me for more that 6 months yet (finally left his day job, woo!), so this has been a transition year into offering more than we were able to for the 2 years prior.

Feel free to reach out to me! My email is elektra@everlastingfirestudio.com

Also, feel the need to mention, we are both big ManBearPig fans, so we feel like you must be good people.
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  #6  
Old 2016-06-16, 4:14pm
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It's coming right for us!
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Old 2016-06-16, 4:23pm
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It's coming right for us!
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  #8  
Old 2016-06-17, 5:45am
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I am a manager for a glass studio in Frederick, MD and it's my job to teach classes and find outside instructors to come to the studio. I do use social media but I also go to glass events (AGI, GAS, The Gathering) to find instructors and to promote the studio. I also send information to local bead and art groups. There are a couple Facebook groups which allow promotion of studios - join those! I have thought about using Groupon but haven't gotten there yet. Put a postcard or flyer together about the studio and pass it around at local festivals or street events. Think about offering classes that aren't glass primarily but go with glass - electroforming, sandblasting, coldworking, jewelry, etc. This will draw people in and when they see the flame they will want to experience actually sitting down behind a torch. Have a Holiday bazaar and advertise in local newspapers - I got quite a few new students from that event. Don't be afraid to use local instructors - I have a ton of lampworking resources in my area who are not a well known name but I feel you can learn from anyone. This will save you on instructor fees and you can offer the class at a more affordable rate. I hope I have given you some ideas. It's a constant job but if you love it like I do, you will be willing to work at it. Stay in touch and let me know how it goes.

Last edited by fourpawsglass; 2016-06-17 at 6:05am.
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  #9  
Old 2016-06-17, 6:14am
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Travel is definitely a consideration. I'm in Virginia, so when I teach in VA, Maryland, or North Carolina I drive. Not a huge expense. But when I teach in the midwest or on the west coast, driving really isn't an option. So airfare comes into play.
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  #10  
Old 2016-06-17, 11:44am
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Yeah, we have had that difficulty. We live in a one bedroom apartment, we can't really put people up in our home either to help costs. So then we have to add in hotels, etc. Of which there are none in our area, of course. So whoever comes won't likely be staying exceptionally close by. Thankfully Chicago is commuter friendly, so with buses, trains, cabs, etc there are many ways to get around! So that isn't as bad as it could be.
Some people have said they would stay with my parents (they live down the street from our shop), but that isn't always a great fit for everyone.

We did Groupon and AmazonLocal (while it was still a thing). The perk is that you get your money regardless of them redeeming. And typically, half redeeming is standard. So you get paid to do nothing, essentially for half.

Now, the two downsides we found were this: 200 is your minimum, you can't offer less. So you have to be ready to possibly accommodate 200 people over the length of time your voucher lasts. So depending on your studio, or schedule, that can be a challenge.
And obviously the second, you get a quarter of your asking price. So if your class offering is normally $200, it's only gonna get you $50/person. So you have to really weigh your options cost wise. Look at your possible numbers, and determine if you can afford to do it for the cost. Or, develop a class at a price point that means you can take the quarter and be fine with it, and either never offer it again normally or offer it cheaper once your deal is sold. If you go that route, just make sure the price you set it at is still higher than what the Groupon person paid for. Does that makes sense?

We typically do at least one outdoor show a month, this year we amped it up a bit and have added some more. We bring a torch when allowed, our class info, and our inventory with us. I'm doing our local neighborhood farmers market once a month all season to help remind people we are here too.

Trust me, we don't care if someone is local or not. Our current special class IS a local teacher this time, so that is good that we can at least easily run it again if we have more people interested, or if the date ends up not working for a lot of people. Easy to try again.
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  #11  
Old 2016-06-17, 11:49am
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Side note, we originally offered some non-glass classes. Jewelry making, drawing, etc.

A few ran, but most never did and got no interest. So we bulked up our offerings instead. That helped things for sure, though. For those that really want to work glass having more class options is good. They need room to grow!
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Old 2016-06-17, 12:22pm
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Are you close enough that public transit is an option? The last time I taught there I taught in Oak Park, but stayed in the center of Chicago. I walked out of my hotel, went to the end of the block, got on the train, got off in Oak Park, walked a block, and I was there. Easier than driving.
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Old 2016-06-17, 12:33pm
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Are you close enough that public transit is an option? The last time I taught there I taught in Oak Park, but stayed in the center of Chicago. I walked out of my hotel, went to the end of the block, got on the train, got off in Oak Park, walked a block, and I was there. Easier than driving.
There is a bus stop across the street from our studio, and we are a few blocks from the Brown Line. And the bus takes you from the train, to our door practically. So it's pretty easy. You could also take the UP North Line on the Metra, and then hop the Lawrence bus and get within a few blocks of us as well.

Our neighborhood is Lincoln Square, if that helps.
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Old 2016-06-20, 9:03pm
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I dont ....self taught... 5 years n now and it's been a flop nothing. Did pay for one but pretty sure thats going to be nothing too.
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Old 2016-06-21, 1:41am
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I dont ....self taught... 5 years n now and it's been a flop nothing. Did pay for one but pretty sure thats going to be nothing too.
Self taught is great with YouTube videos now-a-days and all, but there are a few things you pick up in a hands on class you may not get in a video. Videos are like going to demo only class or watching flame-offs. I think the best way, for me to learn at least, is hands on with some back and forth communication.

At first, I took a few basic classes and then a few classes on specific techniques. That got expensive to pay for a class to learn a single technique.

Then I wanted to learn from a "master". I tried to get classes close by, in Oregon, but they all filled up really fast. I booked a three day demo in Denver. I did learn a lot but didn't retain much of it and decided I would never do that again. I need the hands on to remember the techniques.

I tried to take a class with Loren Stump at GAS but it got canceled. I am currently signed up for a class with Roger Paramore at Pratt but it looks like there may not be enough people signed up for them to hold the class as well. I need to check on that. I think if they cancel the Paramore class, that will be it, for me and taking classes for a long while.

One problem with out-of-town classes is, you sign up for a class, book a flight, if it's far enough away, book hotel and if the class gets canceled you are screwed if you tried to save a few bucks on non-refundable reservations. Schools should make arrangements with nearby hotels to give attendees special rates and no penalties if the class gets canceled IMHO.

I didn't understand how one class with an instructor is full to capasity with people on a waiting list and another class with the same instructor gets canceled for lack of interest within the same 12-15 month period.

I know that wasn't the original question, but after paying $$$ for flight/car/hotel for a demo, where much of the prep work was done before hand. Or, maybe having two classes canceled after waiting several months, I am kind of frustrated with the whole expensive scene.</rant>
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Old 2016-06-21, 5:46am
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That's honestly why I started my online video classes. They have been going well. The first one is out and the second one will be out in a couple weeks. So far the response has been positive.

It's not the same as taking an in-person class obviously. But the good thing is once you sign up for it you can go back to the videos over and over again, and I have a message board where people can ask questions. I did live Q and A sessions for the class once a week where people could ask questions about techniques in the videos.

I also offer one-on-one Skype lessons. I have a few people that do those with me once a week. That's good because I can watch them work and offer pointers as they do.

There is still nothing like a live, in-person class though. Given my choice, that's what I would always choose. There is just something about learning from someone and also being able to interact with the other students in the class. There just isn't any way to replicate that without having an in-person class.
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Old 2016-06-23, 8:33am
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Primarily we are both self taught at this point. Most of our teachers were during our days in soft glass. Boro has been all through tutorials, videos, and some pointers from people we know who work with it.

And definitely, you hit walls when you are self taught. When you struggle to nail a technique down, you definitely want someone to teach you in person to help you smooth out your bumps and take it to the next level.

I agree with the frustrations over cost. A lot of us can't afford to do a lot of travel, and sometimes classes are long (a week or two). Depending on where you are, finding classes that are more affordable for travel become difficult. Since a lot of studios with these great artists tend to stay on the west or east coast, those of us in the midwest are faced with long travels to get to these teachers.
Partly, that was a goal of ours. To get to a point where we can have a studio space where we can have such teachers come and give another studio here in the midwest where it is possible.

I wish it was possible to make deals with hotels, but really that is something you have to have a lot of money for. All we have by us in our neighborhood is really rundown motels that I'm pretty sure are used only for illegal activities. There aren't really any hotels. They are more concentrated close to downtown. I think the idea is that you just use public transportation to get where you want to go. Which, is not a terrible concept since we are easy to navigate.

I'm glad to hear your videos are available after purchase! So many are gone after 30 days or less. I'm someone who really needs to be able to take my time. Plus, with all our other responsibilities, I can't always dedicate as much time as I'd like to one thing. So I often want to be able to revisit something I've learned months later.

I know I definitely have some things I can do well, but I know I could do them better with some proper instruction. Hopefully in the next year I'll get some opportunities to learn!
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Old 2016-06-23, 8:41am
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Yeah. I know a lot of places that offer video classes only let you access them for a limited time. I'm not a fan of that. If you buy a book or tutorial or a DVD lesson you get to keep it as long as you want it. I think it should be the same with a video class.

Honestly, hotels are part of travel. I just factor them in. I haven't had a situation where a class has been cancelled for lack of enrollment or whatever, so I'm not sure what you do in that situation. Me personally I'll teach one person or ten people. It doesn't matter to me. I actually prefer smaller classes, but as long as the class size is manageable it's not a big deal. I have taught up to 20 at one time at one of the big shows. I brought my wife with me as an assistant.
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Old 2016-06-23, 11:44am
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Holy cow, 20 is a lot of people.

I do prefer smaller class sizes. It's easier to get to know your students, and easier to help them when they need it.
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Old 2016-06-24, 6:57am
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Default Classes on video.

[quote=Cosmo;4858131]Yeah. I know a lot of places that offer video classes only let you access them for a limited time. I'm not a fan of that. If you buy a book or tutorial or a DVD lesson you get to keep it as long as you want it. I think it should be the same with a video class.

Honestly, hotels are part of travel. I just factor them in. I haven't had a situation where a class has been cancelled for lack of enrollment or whatever, so I'm not sure what you do in that situation. Me personally I'll teach one person or ten people. It doesn't matter to me. I actually prefer smaller classes, but as long as the class size is manageable it's not a big deal. I have taught up to 20 at one time at one of the big shows. I brought my wife with me as an assistant.[/QUOTE
chad I wish I could retake a few more classes with you. I,do think the idea of video classes are great because as you say, you can go back. Sadly I would not be able to take advantage of those because of our exchange rate with the $
I have taken a class with a well known glass artist, but truly I cannot remember much about it, as I was rushed through!! Hence my good feeling about video.
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