Today’s question comes from Dean. Dean asks: “How can I tell if I have the right level of experience or skill before taking a class? Do certain instructors focus on certain skill levels?”
Just like you’re never too old to learn how to carve, you’re never too new or inexperienced to take a wood carving class. Most instructors today teach from roughouts which is a block of wood carved out on a CNC machine to produce a carving in its very rough form.
The basic shape is there but all the detail work is left for the carver to do. If you take an in-person class the instructor is right there to guide you along and help you wherever you get stuck.
The latest concept in wood carving classes are online classes which are becoming more and more popular. These are classes you take right at home on your computer live with the instructor where you have a front row seat to watch the instructor carve the entire carving as you carve along with him. The necessary roughout is sent directly to your home prior to the beginning of the class. Classes are generally 8 hours long and are broken up into 4 two hour sessions which usually run on a Saturday and Sunday over two consecutive weekends.
Online classes have some advantages over in-person classes. 1) You save time and travel expenses because you take them right at home. 2) The classes are taped and are made available for the students to review (as often as they like) for two weeks after the class has ended. The downside there, however, is that although you can interact with the instructor over the computer during the class you don’t have the advantage of having the instructor providing you with hands on assistance like you would in an in-person class.
I think I may have digressed here though…..
So no, you are never too new or inexperienced to take a class. In fact, I have never met a carver yet who said he/she was sorry for taking a class. Regardless of your skill level you will always learn something from taking a wood carving class, and that in itself makes it worthwhile.
To answer the second part of Dean’s question…no, most of the carving instructors I know of do not differentiate between beginner and advanced students. During class everyone just carves at their own pace. There is no race or time limit to get finished. In fact, many students don’t ever finish their project in class. They take the project home to finish afterwards along with lots of new knowledge gained from having taken the class.
So whether you’re a beginner, intermediate or advanced carver taking a wood carving class is always a good idea.
Keep a sharp edge and keep on carvin’!