teaching off-site class


Apr 13, 2003
Hello. I am hoping you pros could give me some advise & opinions on this matter!!! I am in the process of beginning a mat & frame class for a corporation in my town as a benefit to their employees. I am taking over for someone who has recently become ill, which means...I don't have any information to go by from that instructor or anyone for that matter. The class includes a $25 fee from students for supplies. What kind of supplies would you put in their kit for that amount of money???Does anyone have any experience in off site classes?? I would really love to get professional info from you. thx so much, seymour.
Oh, that must be for the Jeep Chrysler class. I thought MTS was supposed to provide all supplies, class materials and equipment for the class or purchase what they don't have in inventory from a local vendor.

I thought they should provide everything.

What does the lesson plan say? Are you supposed to teach these people how to cut mats and build frames or teach them the difference in quality vs. junk framing??

If it is the former I can see exactly who will be on the short end of the stick as a result of putting a little bit of information into the hands of a group of employees and turning them loose!

If the latter, I would take examples to class to show the difference between paper mats and rag mats, hinging and masking tape mounting, good miters vs. open gaping miters, drymounting and any other type of mounting that you choose to show them. The more examples of the differences in quality vs. shoddy framing you show them and the more you explain to them the drawbacks of using the wrong kind of materials, the better the class will be for the students.

I got an email just this morning from a guy who sent me a photo of a photo he "mounted" behind a mat opening. He wanted to know why the back looked so unfinished. I told him that there is a reason why we are professional framers and he is not. And I suggested that his future framings be taken to a professional framer to be done. I have no idea where he got the idea that you tape down all 4 edges of a photo to the back of a window mat using what appeared to be Scotch Magic tape. And I wasn't going to attempt to give a crash course in mounting and framing via email to a perfect stranger.

When are framers going to take their respective places amongst the trades that are looked on as professional trades and not hobbies?? I would no more email a construction guy asking how to install a window or a new door in my house or a brick layer asking him how to corbel a ledge, or a framer wanting to know how he does his work, than I would ask a brain surgeon how to remove a tumor at home!!

Why do these people think that we are just waiting around for somebody to ask how we do our jobs so we can pour out all our professional techniques to them?? I swear that is just as rude, in my personal opinion, as anything outwardly rude that I can conjure up in my mind!!

Good luck in your classes, seymour.

Seymor ;I once was courted to do just what you are being asked to do. Only difference was I was being asked by the local Community Collagee. I actually gave it some serious concideration. The reason being I have attended a class just like it taught by a very admired local Framer.
If I were going to admitt the truth I was running on an EGO trip. I say this because I have always wanted to be good enough to be a Framing instructor especially to imulate this particu;lar gentleman.
What stopped me dead in my tracks ( and the deal was very near complete) was a customer and a Suppliers's Rep.
The rep told m that I would be cutting my business by teaching locals how to do what I do ( or at least feel that they could).Then the Bottom feeding customer came into the shop and proudly announced that she had heard that the class was in the works and had suggested to all her friends that they should take the class so they could frame their own work.
With these two revolations I quickly stopped the deal.
And still another thing to consider is what can a private individual accomplish with the limited expenditures they will make for equipment to achive what we do ? This can only lead to disappointment and may result in student continually comeing by the shop to ask for reasons why their work didn't come out like yours.
If you really want to teach and feel you have things to offer consider talking to PPFA ,PFM,DECOR all of them are great sources of education for REAL FRAMERS,some of which are for newbies and need beginning lessons as well.
I think you could put together a nice basic framing class. I disagree with Buddy. When I have taught framing I have found that either a) they are the kind of folks that wouldn't pay custom prices anyway (kind of like me before I got into the business) or b) they discover that it is a lot harder than it appears.

For $25, I would supply mat blanks, Hayaku tape, a/f foam backing (I know, I know) 8x10 frame cut from my junk stock and regular glass. I would work in 8x10 format, having the students bring in a snapshot to frame.

I would teach them how to calculate fitting a picture into a standard frame, how to cut a double mat, how to join sectionals, how to seal a package, how to mount paper art and needleart.

In fact, I HAVE done all that. I don't do it anymore because I got tired of spending hours trying to teach the one dummy that seems to attend every class (as opposed to the one brilliant one who catches on immediately, and the others that take a couple of times expalining and then get it) It was fun to do, but I'm glad I don't do it anymore.
Ellen : I yield to your far graeter experience . however your TWO reasons for disagrement:") they are the kind of folks that wouldn't pay custom prices anyway (kind of like me before I got into the business) or b) they discover that it is a lot harder than it appears" To my limited experience seem remakebly like ONE and also seem to be a rationale for a student to think they will walk out the class with the ability to frame like a pro( despite the lack of equipment expenditures)and all this is PROBABLY motivated by a desire to not use profesional services ( "they are the kind of folks that wouldn't pay custom prices anyway ") while I do think it is often true that many find that it isn't as easy as they thought it would be .I still think that can lead to further frustrations( some of which you have already mentioned).
On he UP side some do after finding it to be more than they expected become regular customers. However those who don't (I got tired of spending hours trying to teach the one dummy that seems to attend every class ) can indeed ruin the whole thing.
As I have mentioned I had and still have a very strong desire to share whatever knowledge I have in the way of being an instructor . I just don't feel this venue is the best utilization of anyone's skills ( Not even my meger knowledge) to further the advancement of the trade. However as I have also mentioned I deeply admired the Yoeman's job another local farner did as I do all the WORK Ellen and others like Seymore undertake.
I am just warning of some of the potential pitfalls a project like this can harbor.As to my misunderstanding it's potenials ,well maybe that explains why others ARE instructors and I just wannabe.
I have to agree with Buddy on the rationale behind trying to teach a class in matting and framing for this reason.

As I mentioned in another post, we as a profession are not looked on by the majority of people as professionals. Matting and framing are viewed by many people in the same light as needlecraft, quilt making, and fretwork. It is a hobby in their eyes. Granted, it is tedious, requires specialized equipment to do the work properly, and is priced way above the normal materials to do some of the other crafts mentioned. But, until we have a presence in the workplace as having a specialized skill and professional background, we will be viewed as someone who has taken a hobby and turned it into a business, a hobby that appears&nbsp to require little real knowledge or special training to do.

I taught autobody repair for 13 years at a local community college. I had good success with training young men and women to become employable in the workplace and many of my graduates are still employed as body specialists or are operating their own body shops today. The difference in the motivation to take autobody classes and taking framing classes may be the answer to the nagging question of why take the classes to begin with.

The autobody classes prepared the students for gainful employment in the workplace. Framing classes may well be taken in an attempt to save on the cost of having someone else do the framing for you. Until we are looked on by the public as professionals with a specialized skill that requires special training to become proficient, we will have the stigma of a high priced hobby type business that anyone can learn to do with a few classes or little training.

How we accomplish this task is the problem. I would like to see professional organizations like the PPFA focus on elevating our field of endeavor to that of other professional trades. But that doesn't seem to be a priority with them at this time. I wonder why the PMA promotes the professional photography trade while the PPFA arm of that organization does little apparent promotion or education to the public on our behalf.

I tell customers who give me the old "it's some paper and 4 sticks of wood' routine that framing is like chess. You can learn the basics in a few hours, but it takes a lifetime to master. Or golf, it's like golf too. But more like chess, I think... less sweating involved.
Originally posted by EllenAtHowards:
"it's some paper and 4 sticks of wood'
Uh huh.

And that dress you're wearing is just four yards of fabric and some thread, right?

This course among all of those taught for theses employees is a course they take, the company pays the tuition and the individual after passing the course gets a pay increase.

I would write up a syllabus for the course. As in every course you will need some knowledge and background before hands on. 1. Some history of design so they can appropriately choose colors etc. to enhance the artwork. This could include books to read, on line sites to visit and bringing in some of their own already framed artwork or crafts to be critiqued. 2. History of framing. Again, books, on line and frames. 3. Testing, written and oral presentation on some small piece of their own. 4. Hands on. $25. Hmm, you have probably spent $5 of it on paper for the Syllabus. Does the company have a complete frame shop set up for this? I'm assuming not, so how can you do much else but have them choose the color samples and then bring a mat already cut. Have them bring a frame, I'd probably use the 8x10 Ellen suggested, no larger than 11x14 and have them assemble. Give them the craft paper, glue or atg, glass cleaner, paper towels etc. for fitting a package.

1. You have given them the knowledge to assist their framer in choosing proper framing so they won't feel insecure when walking into a frame shop for the first time. 2. They should have a better understanding of what goes into those 4 sticks of wood. 3. They now can go to the BB and make a purchase, do their own thing and have a small feeling of accomplishment. 4. You have helped to promote the trade without giving away the store. 5. Turn this into a plus for you and your business will increase.

I'm a do it yourselfer. I've painted my own house inside and out. I enjoy some of it and the rest is maybe because I've watched some of the pros in my community and I'm too picky.

This post is over my limit but you can include more of the details in choosing sizes, widths and overall presentations. I'm sure by now you are getting the picture.

At the moment I don't have time to worry about capt'n english (you should in the syllabus) so do a good job and in the end you will be rewarded for it. Good luck.