March '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 9 2 0 P R I N T W E A R M A R C H 2 0 1 9 Embroidery Education FROM SELF-PACED TO CUSTOM CONSULTATION answer questions in email and social groups, the 'broadcast' nature of the ma- terial means that evaluating your progress will also likely be your responsibility, and though you may be able to reach out to instructors or publishers, your answers will likely be less than immediate. If you have a gap in your understanding in the founda- tions of the thing you want to learn but isn't covered by course materials, it can be- come frustrating without guidance. LIVE EDUCATION Counted among live education options are not only traditional seminars and work- shops held alongside trade shows, but any scheduled live education, from webinars and formal online classes, to even live social- media video events. An outlier here is dedi- cated multi-day educational 'boot camp' events which offer an even more intensive and often hands-on experience, though T here are lessons to be learned in all stages of one's career, but not all lessons have to be learned the hard way. When I recount my early days in embroidery to those starting in the business now, it's easy to romanticize the hardship of my lonely, trial-and-error process of learning to digitize as a young embroidery operator. The truth is that I can only imagine how much simpler my life might have been and how much further I'd have gone in those early days if I had some form of directed education to help me master the foun- dational basics of the craft. Being both an embroidery educator and someone who went largely without education puts me in an interesting position. After consulting with, teaching, and learning from a myriad of decorators, I've found that the variety of educational options ranging from self- paced classes to instructional documents to direct consultation each have advantages and disadvantages for people at each stage in their career. Moreover, a teaching style may be more suited to particular skills and subjects than others. With that understanding, rather than swear by one educational method, I've offered a brief description of three common types of education available to modern decorators, listing some of those advantages, disadvantages, and reasons they might best fit one's situation. SELF-PACED EDUCATION Whether this comes in the form of instructional documents or videos, pre-recorded classes, e-books, or articles, self-paced learning as defined herein includes any reference or practice material that you can utilize on your own schedule. Whether you are purchasing publi- cations or class access from a known decorator/educator or you are availing yourself of training materials offered by an equipment or supplies vendor, self-paced learning is often the first place many decorators look for educational content. Pros: As expected, self-paced learning options allow you to fit education into your busy work schedule. They may be either provided to reduce support contacts for equipment and supplies vendors or are expected to be evergreen. Down- loaded and paid for by a large number of stu- dents, these options are also the least expensive. With offerings appearing in text, audio, and video formats, there is something for learners of just about every style and commitment level. Readily available worldwide, relatively inexpen- sive, and versatile, it's easy to see why they are often the simple choice. Cons: Self-paced options often offer limited interaction with the educator. Though many EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l Traditional classes are easy to suggest, but the truth is that for the higher cost, you man- age to get the best of all worlds with direct instruction, one-on- one interaction during Q&A and after class, and networking with your fellow decorators. Attach that to a trade show and it's hard to deny. (All images cour- tesy the author)

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