What to Bring to a Workshop

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Polymer Clay Workshops at KatersAcres Studio in NW Pennsylvania

What to Bring to a Workshop

Polymer Clay Workshops at KatersAcres Studio in NW Pennsylvania


Knowing what to bring to a workshop if you’re a first time participant can be a challenge. Today, I’m going to help you feel comfortable in what you are bringing, how much to bring, and what happens if you forget something.

Knowing what to bring to a workshop can be a hard a decisive battle but it depends on several things: the medium, instructor, and type of class. For example a polymer clay workshop of surface effects will require me to bring different tools & materials that a polymer clay workshop on sculpting an Einstein doll. Be aware of the kind of workshop you are taking, the skills and techniques involved, and do a little background research on your instructor as well to familiarize yourself with their process too.

What to Bring to a Workshop

List of Materials/Tools from the Instructor:

Every workshop should come with a comprehensive list of everything that you might need for the classes that you will be taking or participating in at the workshop. Make sure that you review the list of supplies from all the teachers that will be teaching at your workshops. Gather every single tool or required material on that list and pack it. Do not leave home without it.

Helpful tip: As a courtesy if I have two of something, I will often throw an extra in my toolbox, just in case my table mate doesn’t have something or forgot it and I can “loan” it to them during the workshop.

Here’s a list of some other things (clay related & not clay related) that you might consider bringing.

What to Bring to a Workshop – Things You Can Make:

  • At classes and workshops, many of the participants will bring something to give away, trade, or share. Some really great things include:
    • Inchies – A 1″ x 1″ square that you’ve made from polymer clay & decorated to your liking.
    • Twinchies – A 2″ x 2″ square that you’ve made from polymer clay & decorated to your liking.
    • Beads – Make your favorite beads and bring them to trade
    • Anything YOU have made that you’d like to share
  • In workshops where there will be more than 10 people, it’s often a great idea to make your own name tag! I’m not good with names, so people who’ve cleverly made their own, not only helps me to remember them but to see their art in action. Here’s a few ideas:
    • Make & decorate a standard size nametag brooch you can wear.
    • Make & decorate a necklace you can wear.
    • Make a little “name plate” for where you will sit.

What to Bring to a Workshop – Additional Items:

  • My Studio Keurig Coffee Pot with Parker by KatersAcresYour favorite travel mug! Many classes & workshops offer an all day beverage service. In my opinion, there’s nothing worse than having those silly paper cups and knocking them over constantly. UGH!
  • An Apron. An apron (at least for me is essential). It lets me be messy, be free, and experiment in ways I might not if I had to be careful.
  • A Book (or your Kindle). Let’s be honest, there is some downtime at workshops. After a day of activity, meeting people, and playing in your art, often a book is the most relaxing way to end your day.
  • A Notebook & Pen (or an iPad). There are going to be times when you want to take notes of how to make something, or jot down ideas as they come. This is essential. Don’t leave home without this.
  • Your “must have” supplies. Look at your syllabus for your class. Are supplies provided? Is clay provided? Do you have to bring your own? In most cases, clay & necessary supplies are usually provided. But your favorite tools will not be. I bring ONE small tool box filled with my must have tools and supplies for a workshop. These are the things that I absolutely can NOT clay without. Make sure those are the things that you bring along.
  • A Water Bottle. Classes can be long and excusing yourself for water can often be tedious and not ideal. I bring my Yeti with me and fill it up in the morning so I can sip on it until lunch when I will refill it. This refreshment is idea and because it’s not a paper cup, it won’t get bumped and spill either.
  • A Swimsuit. Depending on where you are staying, if your hotel accommodations offer a pool or hot tub, this is another great thing to do after a long day. PS: It’s not a modeling contest, so don’t worry about how you look in a swimsuit. It’s what’s on the inside that matters.
  • Good & friendly attitudes! When packing for a workshop, make sure you pack this. There are few things worse than a tablemate who knows more than you, has more experience than you, and won’t stop correcting you.
  • You are at a workshop to learn. The best artists around the world still take workshops & classes to get inspired, broaden their mind, & learn something new.

What to Bring to a Workshop – Your “Ritual” Things:

When you sit down to craft, clay, or play in your art medium is there something you always do? For me, there is always a cup of coffee and I always apply hand lotion. (Read why here.) If you have a “ritual” to your crafting then you want to be sure that you bring things to make this happen. Why? If you aren’t relaxed, you won’t enjoy the experience. This being said, if one of your ritual’s is to burn a stick of incense, this might not be appropriate in your setting and my offend someone with allergies. Be sure that your “ritual” is only about you and won’t harm or hurt someone else.

Wear Comfortable Clothes:

This is my number 1 and most important rule:

Wear comfortable clothes, you will be sitting & working most, if not all day. Workshops are NOT fashion shows.

This being said, I know that we all like to look nice and get all gussied up. There’s a time & a place for that. It’s usually the open house the night prior or final night of any workshop. The workshop itself, you want to be comfy. You want to wear something that can get dirty, paint on it, and take a little abuse. I myself always work in jeans and a knit shirt (like a t-shirt). Both can take plenty of abuse and wash-up pretty easily.

Anything You Want to Share?

What about you? Is there something that you’d like to share that you always bring with you to workshops and classes? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for joining me today,

Happy Claying,

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