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Craft Instructor


Crafts. When you think of them, you probably have visions of painted pinecones, woven bracelets, and a finger painting or clay pinch pot. Well, crafts go far beyond those simple stereotypes.

Craft instructors teach people things like candle making, soap making, weaving, pottery, carving, silk-screening, photography, wood working, sewing, and glass blowing, among others. These instructors are often artisans themselves, experts in a craft that they long to share with others.

Craft instructors teach ongoing classes to groups of regular students. They teach weekend workshops, host drop-in crafting sessions, and give one-to-one instruction in students' homes. They teach beginners the fundamentals of the craft, as well as skilled artisans looking to brush up on skills and advance themselves as artists.

Not only are craft instructors educators, but they are also historians, who have a thorough background in the cultural traditions in which their craft developed. They are also business people, who often manage instruction as an entrepreneurial endeavor.

Craft instructors are important to us, as they bring art and creativity to the public. They help even the most unskilled artist create beauty and power through artistic endeavors.
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  Interests and Skills  
Craft instructors must be patient, kind and understanding of others' abilities and talents. They should have a sound knowledge of many aspects of crafting, and be extremely skilled in the area they teach. They should have leadership skills as well as very good communication skills. Craft instructors must be open to many types of people, cultures and backgrounds, and should be able to treat everyone equally. They should be fair, kind and enjoy people. If they choose to go into business for themselves, they should have some knowledge about business practices.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Meet regularly with students
  • Plan lessons
  • Organize advertising for classes
  • Arrange to purchase supplies for students
  • Supervise student progress
  • A typical day for a craft instructor will involve a lot of preparation. There will be pricing of materials, planning each lesson and contacting suppliers. Each day that involves teaching will be spent analyzing student progress, advising them on ways to improve their techniques, and looking for innovative ways to teach skills, concepts, and the tricks of the trade. There is a lot of interpersonal interaction. Craft instructors who don't teach out of their own homes will travel throughout the community to recreation centers, students' homes and studios, as well as internationally, to fairs, festivals, and workshops to learn new skills and techniques from other cultures and traditions.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Craft instructors teach out of their homes, in their students' homes or out of a studio they have alone or share with other artists and instructors. They may be in business for themselves, work for an instructor franchise or craft school, or work with government agencies such as recreation and community centers, municipal day camps, prisons, hospitals or group homes, or they may be employed in the private sector at overnight camps, nursing homes or with craft stores.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Craft instructors can work with crafting organizations, or can branch out and become independent instructors. They may choose to open their own craft business, and instruct out of a studio or classroom. They can also teach many types of crafts, as well as open up a shop to sell artisans' creations. Some may choose to become full-time artisans themselves, while others may choose to go to teacher's college and teach in public or private schools.

  Educational Paths  
There is no specified path to take if you want to be a craft instructor. Many craft instructors take courses in the area that most interests them, and after years of practicing that art, they choose to share that knowledge with others. They may a course in craft instruction, offered by community colleges, or by a crafting company--there are some franchised crafting organizations that certify instructors and have them teach according to company plans.

Crafting instructors can also be trained teachers, graduates of recreation programs at a college or university, or have completed years of study in fine arts, woodworking, and textile creation and design.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2002/oes_nat.htm

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