Workshop SF

Months ago out at dinner I asked my friend Katey where she got her amazing copper earrings. She had finished making them that very afternoon at the end of a two-weekend intro to jewelry-making series at Workshop. I had never heard of Workshop and was entertained by its name. Workshop on McAllister and Baker just near the Panhandle is exactly that- an amazing space to get to work making whatever you want under expert instruction. Since January I have already taken three workshops at Workshop. It’s easy and convenient, as there is plenty of parking up on Turk, and prices are reasonable, if not cheap.

1. Beginner’s Metal Jewelry: Metalsmithing Fundamentals

My first metal smithing creation!

My first metal smithing creation!

$98 gets you about 6 hours of small-group instruction. There were six of us in my class. This class met on two consecutive weekends. The first weekend was to practice on scrap brass and copper metal sheeting and wire to get the basics and to start brainstorming designs. My teacher Georgia Dwyer was flexible and focused on teaching the techniques the group wanted to learn. She never said “no,” and never said that anyone’s design was impossible, even though we were just beginners. She helped just the right amount and knew when we were ready to fly on our own. Thanks to her instruction and encouragement, I came away from the workshop with these handmade hammered brass earrings. Georgia even taught us how to make custom ear hooks using wire techniques.

2. Camerashop: Demystifying Your DSLR

Next was the extremely underpriced DSLR camera workshop. For $165 as a Christmas / birthday present, Shane bought me 14 hours of photography instruction, again in a small group of six. The class met four times, and we came away with tons of resources from Kurt Manley, whose motto throughout the month was “What? and Why?” I loved learning from him, because I went into the class feeling frazzled and guilty that I didn’t know how to operate the Manual setting on my Canon Rebel T5i, and he broke everything down so simply and pragmatically that all the overwhelming feelings dissipated, so much so that I was able to calm down enough to get this shot in Golden Gate Park after just the first class:


Duck in Golden Gate Park.

I got happier and happier with my results as the weeks went on; one of Kurt’s promises already came true. That photography helps you see more and helps you to look at things with a purpose, as an active learner. I had never noticed this sort of “duck” before, and only after studying the photo later on my computer screen did I fully appreciate the structures on its head that I had never experienced previously:


Duck at Stowe Lake in Golden Gate Park.

I’ve become so excited about taking pictures that a social outing to Point Reyes turned into more of a photo essay day for me. Stella the Weimaraner had a ball of a time crashing around in the huge waves. I had an even greater time capturing the moments. The white foam on the wave is completely overexposed, but I am in love with the photo. I took it at high noon and accepted the fact that there was an overabundance of bright light. Stella has an enormous personality, so it almost makes sense that it looks as if she is cut and pasted onto the wave. The sea cannot consume her! ; )


Stella at Point Reyes

Since the camera workshop ended, I’ve taken Kurt’s advice on photographing during the Magic Hour just before sunset and at twilight. I live a few blocks from Baker Beach and have been taking advantage of the iconic setting:


Baker Beach at twilight.

3. Sewing 101: Machine and Hand Basics

Last but not least was Friday’s sewing workshop. I’ve had it up to here with my dry cleaning lady who charges $6 to sew on a button. I’m a grownup and deicded to take responsibility, so I went to Workshop and ended up with a beer koozie and Sock Monster. : )


Mr. Sock Monster with his koozie.

See the Sock Monster’s eye? I learned some good button-sewing tricks! I had never used a sewing machine before and let me tell you that foot pedal was like driving a Ferrari! (or what I imagine that experience would be like) It was exciting, soothing, and fun to use the sewing machine. I even had a nostalgic feeling, because the only other time I had ever heard sewing machine noises was when I used to sit in the same room when my grandmother would hem my pants. Unfortunately she is no longer around to teach me to hem, and that’s why everyone says to take advantage of the time you have with your grandparents, because it is short and precious. Fortunately for many like me, there’s Workshop to fill in the life lessons for us! Now I know the basics and feel ready for level two of the sewing class which is offered regularly on Workshop’s calendar.

A huge thank you to my teachers at Workshop. As a teacher myself, I know what it’s like to have to teach when you are hungry, tired, thirsty or have to pee, AND the Workshop teachers are teaching for 3 to 4 hours at a time. Kudos! The atmosphere at Workshop is positive, upbeat, welcoming, and can-do. Nothing there is impossible, and the teachers set you up for success in working towards anything your creativity can dream up! I’ll definitely be going back!

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2 Comments on “Workshop SF”

  1. Jerrod July 13, 2014 at 14:43 #

    I have been surfing on the web for a bit more than 2 hours today,
    yet I have not, as of yet, discovered a insightful post that’s great like yours.


  1. Girl Rising (PG-13): An Impetus for Social Entrepreneurship | SavvyCitiZen - March 29, 2014

    […] up as a social entrepreneur. As you’ve seen in an earlier post, I’ve started taking jewelry lessons at Workshop,  and since then I’ve been formulating a plan to sell my creations at places like my favorite […]

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