Updated to edit: I passed! Woohoo!!
Last weekend, I delivered a virtual workshop on Zoom for 8 lovely people for Level 3 of the Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP). Phew, I didn't think I'd ever get to this stage.
Some people have completed their journey in as little as six months. My journey wasn't so easy, as lots of big family stuff came up, which meant there was a lot of stopping and starting. But I did it - I finally made it to my Zoom Workshop, and it feels so good to have gotten this far.
It's been an incredible journey. I started because I've been card-making for years, but I wanted to improve my skills and learn new techniques. I cannot begin to list the number of new things that I've learned. I've created cards that are inspired by tattoos, learnt loads of new ways to use stencils and learnt how to watercolour along the way - which was one of my biggest wishes. I've wanted to learn for years, but it never quite happened.
This blog post will be long as I share about the journey and, more importantly, the fabulous cards that my workshop attendees made. So, here's how it all went:
Complete 10 workshops, each with 4-6 classes in each - check.
Complete another 5 workshops, more advanced, each with 4-6 classes in each - check.
Complete the final assessment - hold a virtual Zoom meeting where you teach a 2-hour workshop sharing how to make two cards - check.
The Final Assessment
For the final assessment, you have to deliver a 2-hour workshop. You could host a live or virtual event. I opted for virtual as I live in a remote part of Scotland, so practically, it was easier to go online. I also teach online a lot for my coaching and mentoring business and my Zentangle classes, so I'm comfortable teaching online.
Prior to hosting the workshop, you had to prepare a lesson plan showcasing three cards with detailed instructions on how to make them. You can choose any technique and style, so it was challenging to choose what to create. I created so many designs before I landed on the ones I was happy with. I ended up with three designs, of which two were used in the workshop, with the third card as a bonus. Once Erum Tasneem, the AECP Coordinator, approved my lesson plan, date and topic, I advertised the workshop, asking for 10 participants. I got all 10, but sadly, a couple of people couldn't make it.
It was tricky to figure out what level to target the workshop to, so I went for the intermediate level and kept the cards quite simple. I chose stencilling as my topic as there are so many techniques that you can use with them. I love colour, so I opted for an olive green and red colour scheme.
I sent out the full lesson plan with images before the session, along with Zoom links and a supply list. There was a tiny bit of prep work for people to do before the session, so this was included in the lesson plan. Reminders were sent out a couple of times to keep my session top of mind.
A big thank you to Bridget Casey for allowing me to do a practice cardmaking class with a group of die-hard Altenew crafters. I booked myself in for a practice session two weeks prior to running my final assessment, and I'm really pleased I did. It helped me get prepped with my iPhone and Zoom camera set-up, which I have to say was a bit tricky initially. You can't really teach a class when your desktop is sideways or your hands are in reverse, can you?!
The Day of the Workshop
Well, 'time zones' is all I can say. Because of time zones, it was a loooong wait before I could start my class. My 3pm was most people's mornings - in the US anyway, so I had to keep myself busy so I would not worry about it. I took the dog out, did some Zentangle, and I even did some hoovering. Maybe I'd have a cleaner house if I had to do final assessments more often!
I was fully prepared, so that was good. Well, other than leaving the prep work until the last minute. Yes, that is the prep work I'd asked the attendees to do ahead of the session! I do my best work at the last minute, what can I tell you?!
I logged into Zoom prior to the session. The wrong Zoom room, obviously! I'm so used to using my personal meeting room for my business that I was sitting in the wrong room online. 🙈 Anyway, I still managed to log in on time, so it was all good. So, onto the cards:
Below is the trio of cards. We made two in the session (middle and right), and there was information in the PDF for the bonus card (left).
Card One - Using Stencils with Textured Paste
Having pre-cut the olive and white card panels (the prep work), we started the first card by stamping and stencilling five flowers, two for the first card and three for the second card. I asked everyone to leave one flower uncoloured so that we could work on that later for the second card.
We stencilled and die-cut the leaves from the set and cut them slightly to make them fit nicely behind the flowers.
Next, we created the textured background using textured paste mixed with dye ink. I have a very pretty sparkly paste that I used. However, it's not my favourite because it's very messy. I love the effect, though, so it's worth it. I will now be sparkling for a week because it got everywhere!
Both card panels were attached to the card. Next, we added a couple of blank die cuts behind each flower to add some dimension and adhered them to the card. We finished off by adding some white gel pen to the centre of the flowers and dotted a few sequins around the floral element to finish.
Below are the cards from the attendees. Some people made more than one card for each design.
Card Two - Double Stencilling
For the second card, we used a double stencilling technique. We coloured in the uncoloured white flower that we hadn't used with a pale-coloured ink using only the first layer of the stencil, and then we placed a second stencil over the top, adding a darker colour. This creates a really pretty pattern on the flower. I used polka dots, but some used the Fine Tulle stencil, and one person used a geometric stencil. They all looked great!
I had sent a supply list out to everyone ahead of time, but the supplies were optional, and people could swap out stamps/dies/colours, etc.
We created a black splattered background with a sentiment and added a row of flowers at the bottom for a simple design. The last detail was to add a touch of white gel pen to make the dotted flower stand out even more.
Below are more fabulous cards that were made:
Bonus Card - Partial Stencilling
In the PDF, I gave a bonus card using a simple partial stencilled technique. Two participants completed this design. See below:
I love the differences in colour choices, stencils and design. They all look great!
Thank you so much to Aditi, Angy, Kim, Linda, Linda, Leslie, Saskia and Traci for joining my workshop. I really appreciate you being so supportive and encouraging and for getting your projects back to me really quickly, too. Thank you to Erum for being such a constant source of inspiration and for keeping me going on the journey, even when life circumstances got tough.
I'm really excited to see what the next chapter brings. It's been an incredible journey and has helped me develop my card-making skills in so many ways. Thank you, Altenew, for such a fabulous programme, and please, please stop making so many gorgeous products. You're making me broke, haha.
Finally, here’s a list of the supplies I used. Download a clickable link version using the button below: