Last week I hosted my first craft workshop as an official freelancer. Having left my full time job as the Home and Craft Editor on Woman’s Weekly magazine just the week before, this was me going out into the world as ‘Emily Dawe’ the brand.
To say I was nervous was an understatement. But I’d done this a million times before when I was working at the magazine. But this was different, this was me throwing myself out there. No safety net of colleagues. Just me.
My craft workshop was part of the Heal’s Christmas party. Every year they open the doors, one evening in December, and invite their customers in to have a little mingle around the store, admiring exquisitely designed homewares whilst sipping on gin cocktails, rubbing shoulders with buyers and the CEO and taking part in workshops. Enter me.
I arrived at Heals sporting a brand new dress and statement necklace I’d bought especially for the occasion from Oliver Bonas, My new attire made me felt pretty special....but underneath it all I was quaking at the knees. What if no one wanted to take part in my workshop? What if I have some hardcore crafters who tell me I'm doing something wrong? What if I trip over my words and sound unprofessional? What if, what if, what if?
Deep breaths woman. You CAN do this.
Wheeling my suitcase of materials into store, I was shown up to the Knoll room where I would be teaching my heat embossing workshop. A gorgeously glossy marble table would be my base for the evening. An £8,000 marble table, naturally.
My workshop was teaching the art of heat embossing, and as Christmas was fast approaching it seemed only right to demonstrate the technique to create festive cards.
As soon as I had set out the table - it always looks so beautifully neat at the beginning of a workshop - the first party guests started to gather round the table. And that’s when it happened, I relaxed. My shoulders fell from being up around my ears and I came into my own, demonstrating how to create Christmas cards by either using my preprepared designs, or doing their own thing.
I absolutely love teaching, it’s the combination of being interactive with people and the satisfying feeling I get from seeing how proud people are of themselves when they learn a new skill - plus I love to chat. And thats the great thing about a workshop, I meet all sorts of interesting folk and in the smaller classes I can actually sit down with people and have a natter about life stuff.
You always get such a mix of people at workshops. You never know what interesting characters you’ll have sitting round the table with you.
Some had heard of heat embossing, some hadn’t; some were crafters; some were not; some were students; some were grandparents; some struggled; some needed no help whatsoever; some were nervous; some really surprised themselves; some were drunk; And some were very very drunk - and I believe this really helped them knock down their barriers of fear when it came to creating something!
The three hour workshop seemed to whizz by and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The guests seemed to enjoy themselves too, Heals received some lovely feedback about my workshop, so much so that they have invited me back to host a marbling workshop in the Spring!
Emily Dawe has officially launched. I’m ready to fly.