Name your craft: basketry, ceramics, knitting or crocheting, needlecrafts, paper crafts, pottery, quilting, sewing, spinning, woodworking, jewelry making, or blacksmithing. Chances are there’s a course nearby. With the proliferation of media and the internet, finding a course is as easy as "pearl one, stitch two".
Local retailers. Chain craft suppliers, such as Michaels and Lewiscraft, offer classes and workshops for a number of crafts including cake decorating, drawing, and quilting. Many independently owned shops run courses as well. Next time you’re picking up some yarn or a new glue gun, ask for more information about attending one of them. Specialty retailers are also a great source for information on groups or circles in your area.
Local galleries. Galleries (which often sell their goods) will often hold classes, especially pottery and ceramics classes. These galleries may also have "crafters in residence" programs and host demonstrations, workshops and lectures.
Local museum or art gallery. Most museums now offer lectures and workshops around their exhibits. Check their websites or membership offices for information on events.
Community colleges and universities. Most colleges and universities have continuing education programs outside of their regular degree programs. If the school offers fashion or design courses, you’ll be able to pick up evening or weekend classes on sewing, pattern drafting, fashion illustration, etc. Visit their websites or call and ask them to mail you a continuing education calendar.
Your municipality. Many cities and larger towns have a parks and recreation department that organizes various arts classes (such as photography, sewing, or painting) at elementary schools, high schools, or community centres. Generally speaking, the list of available courses will change seasonally, may be offered at different levels, and are usually inexpensive. Get your Parks and Rec’s course calendar through their website or from your local public library. If you live in a smaller town, check your community centre’s bulletin boards.
Craft shows. Crafts are big business and craft shows run across Canada throughout the year. Some of these shows have workshops and seminars, included in the price of admittance. Also, walk around the booths and ask exhibitors of work you like if they hold workshops. You may also find local craft groups and circles exhibiting at the show, so keep your eyes peeled. For a list of craft shows across Canada, visit www.craftcanada.com or www.artscraftsindex.com.
Local club or association. Every craft has more than one dedicated website, but did you know that often a local club exists for each one as well? Besides local shows and craft shops, search online for a local club, or ask at your local public library.
Magazine/newspapers. Local papers, especially community newspapers, will usually have a "craft corner" and have some space dedicated in the classified section for "arts and crafts". These are great sources for local information. Craft magazines often print tutorials or "how to" articles and may also list courses or extended seminars. Visit the website of your favourite craft magazine: chances are it’s filled with find tons of information about how and where to learn more about your craft.
Internet hopping. Use a search engine to help you locate a local group. Type "craft lesson [your city]" or "[your craft] lessons [your city]" (i.e. pottery lessons Toronto) and you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find. While you’re at it, search for online lessons. Yes, they exist! Type "[your craft] online lessons".
Books. There’s an abundance of books out there for each craft but save your money for supplies and head to your local library instead. Check the "resources" section at the back of most craft books. You may find a bibliography or contact information for a national club or association dedicated to the hobby.
TV. Specialty channels, such as HGTV televise programs that include "how-to" segments on crafts. You may even find shows that are entirely dedicated to crafts such as Craft Corner Death Match). HGTV’s website (www.hgtv.ca) also has tons of plans for indoor and outdoor projects.
DVDs/videos. Instructional DVDs and videos exist for a variety of crafts. As with books, save your money for supplies, and get the DVDs or videos from your local library.