We all struggle at first. As we venture into a new craft, there is a lot to learn. Maybe you're a woodworker. Think of all the tools available to you. How many of the same tool is out there from different vendors and Manufacturer? How many times are you going to buy the same tool?
Yes, there are a lot of lessons you're going to have to learn on your own, but for a vast majority there are resources everywhere to help you along the way.
In a digital world, don't be afraid to go pick up a book. An interesting thing I have noticed over the years, visiting a professional's shop, seeing someone's work area in a photo or on social media, there is always a large book shelf, or stack of books somewhere. What do you all think we did before the internet? Does anyone remember? Yeah, BOOKS! Actual hold in your hands books. Not unlike the internet today, there is a book or magazine out there for everything. Don't believe me? Next time you're in an actual bookstore, just go take a look at the magazine section, look at all the covers. If you think you have discovered a niche hobby, I'd bet there are thousands of others interested in the exact same thing. So, go to the library and look around. Or.... or..... remember that Community you're a part of, the one we talked about last week, yeah that one. Ask a peer if they have a recommendation.
As much as I love a book in my hands to skim through. There is no denying the fact that the internet has changed everything. And I would be lying if I said Google was not my first stop 95% of the time. The resources available out there are great and they're usually free, or very affordable.
First, we've got YouTube! How many videos are out there for DIY or How-To? Millions! Heck, I posted a how-to a couple weeks ago for a leather Shave Bag (go check it out) YouTube is a great start to find almost any tutorial out there.
Second, Pinterest. While often overlooked, it is a great place to find ideas, and plenty of links for how-to and tutorial websites. You might even find some killer ideas for dinner tonight on there !
Third, Online Community. When you're frequently engaging on social media with other makers in your community, it makes it easier to reach out to others within that community. Don't be afraid to ask a question.
****** I will note, when you're online looking to have questions answered, do some research on your own before asking someone something. On forums, use their search functions, same goes with FB Groups, search posts and make sure it is not a reoccurring question. Be specific with questions and follow up if someone takes the time to help you with something. Most people get tired of answering the same general questions, and will probably tell you the same thing I did about searching first.
Fourth: Paid sites and online classes. I have noticed a lot of "Online Schools" popping up lately. There are a lot of industry pros and accomplished artisans out there hosting streaming classes and how-to's. A simple Google Search will find some.
Fifth: Actual Classes. There are artisan classes and continuing Ed classes everywhere. Blacksmithing, Silversmithing, Glass Blowing, Saddle Making, and on and on.
When it come to seeking out help, you have to be willing to put in the work. Others who are in your space, be it full time, part-time, or hobby, they are probably leading busy lives already. If you are going to seek someone out, be considerate of their time, be conscious of what you are asking of them, and most importantly, be genuine in your pursuit to learn whatever they are willing to offer.
As mentioned above, in the note on asking questions on a digital format, you need to follow up. If someone has taken the time to share a pro tip with you, let them know how it worked out for you when you applied it to your own work. Let them know their time was not wasted. Something to keep in mind, whoever is helping you out will be more willing to continue offering their help when they see their time wasn't
Finally, trade shows. This past weekend I attended the Wichita Falls Boots & Saddle Makers Round Up. It is a show geared towards leather craftsmen, with vendors from all over the US. Events like this are not only great to load up on supplies, but also to network with other accomplished craftsmen/women from across the country. I was fortunate enough to meet several great craftsmen whom I've connected with through social media outlets for sometime now. These people are the ones in your community we've talked about, and events like this are great to attend. So, get on google and see what you can find in your area.
** BONUS! When you engage with like mined folks in your field, chances are you will encounter new friendships and develop professional relationships..... and what does that lead to? Anyone? THAT'S RIGHT! Community!!!
I think we are going to take a break from our Creators Series to work in some interviews with craftspeople from the are in the coming weeks. I would love to heard your thought on this post or past posts in the comments.
If you have any questions or inquiries dealing with anything we've covered please let us know @ firstname.lastname@example.org