Out of the Box!

I love what I do! I love working with schools and centres and coming up with new ideas for workshops and school clubs, but I also love the summer break as it means a change of routine and the opportunity to run summer workshops with a different age range within the community! This year’s summer break was great – not just because we ran lots of lovely workshops, but because I was taken out of my comfort zone and it paid off.

I prepare for some of my summer workshops a few months in advance and as I was prepping, I was contacted by an organisation I work with and informed that they had money and availability to run more workshops than usual this year. They asked if I had anything to offer in addition to my usual workshops. I was already doing quite a lot with them, but I remembered that our clay workshops had run very well at other centres, so I offered that. Although I no longer run most of my workshops, I was going to be running many of the summer ones, so had to ensure I was facilitating something that I was very confident to personally facilitate!

They seemed to like the idea of clay work, but as we conversed more and more, the workshop went from being a simple clay-work course to a course on 3D sculpture. This meant I needed to think out of the box and come up with some interesting themes and techniques. A few days before the course, the organiser contacted me to let me know that the course (which had been advertised online) had proven to be very popular and lots of young people had signed up. At the sound of this I became slightly nervous. A slight ripple of fear ran through me. I knew how to make clay pinch pots and a few other things, but I had never actually done “3D sculpture” before. What if I couldn’t grasp the techniques properly? I wouldn’t be able to teach the students! What if they asked a question and I didn’t know the answer? What about the end-of-course evaluation? What if they all hated the course because it didn’t live up to their expectations? All of these thoughts flooded my mind, but to be honest I had been here before. I was all too familiar with the effects of self-doubt, fear and insecurity –  and I knew better than to cancel or give up. Instead I told myself that this was a small challenge that planning, research, preparation and self confidence could easily fix.

Actually, each one of these things led to the other. I started planning out how I would like the course to flow and what I wanted the young people to achieve. This led me to research various materials and techniques that I could potentially use for each sculpting project. My extensive research included watching various youtube “how to” videos, reading articles and looking at arts/crafts blogs and taking notes. This meant that I was more prepared to run this new course and this preparation of course led me to feel much more confident

To cut the long story short, the course was very successful. The young people made some amazing pieces and their feedback about the course was great. Many of them learnt things that they had never done before. At the end of the course I was as happy and excited about the outcome of the course as the students were – simply because I had faced a fear and allowed myself to think out of the box instead of giving up on something that took me out of my comfort zone! I have now added this to the list of creative workshops that my company offers!

This seems like a small thing but for me it brought a real sense of achievement. When we face small challenges like these and commit to consistently overcoming them, we are ready and able to face bigger challenges, Courage, confidence and boldness doesn’t appear from nowhere – it comes and grows through experience!


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