Class, Workshop & Lecture Descriptions

These are the kinds of workshops and classes that I teach regularly. Just like you can order a sandwich and say hold the onions, all of these classes can be customized to fit your space, time or students. I’d rather make sure it’s a good fit than insist that you “order off the menu”. Almost everything works in-person OR online with just a few tweaks.

I’ve labeled them by category:

  • Digital Fabric Design
  • Business of Art
  • Digital Photography
  • Handcraft
  • Teacher Training

I’ve taught many more things than fit on this page. If you have an idea for a class or think “I wonder if she’d teach ___________”, please ask! I am happy to put together a custom class proposal for you.

Lectures • 75 or 90 minutes with Q&A

Why Does Your Brain Love Pattern?

As fabric artists, we work with patterns everyday. From polka dots and stripes to tropical florals and mid-century mod, we each have designs that we are drawn to. Whether you are interested in designing your own fabrics or creating repeating patterns from quilt blocks, there are ways to make your patterns sing and it’s based on a little bit of brain science. Join fabric designer Becka Rahn as she talks about why our brains love to find patterns and how you can design repeats that light up more of your creative neurons.

A Spoonful of Spoonflower

Designing fabric is more than just putting pencil to paper or generating pixels in Photoshop; it’s about connecting and sharing stories and ideas. Get a tour of what it’s like to design fabrics and print them using Spoonflower, a web-based service for printing your own fabric designs. Get the scoop on the technical details of uploading and proofing your files, see samples of different fabrics and walk through the process from start to finish. We’ll also talk cost-saving tips for getting the most out of your yard of fabric, ways to proof designs and more.

Selling your Fabric Designs is as Simple as Tacos

Have you dreamed of being a fabric designer? Spoonflower is a print-on-demand service with a Marketplace of thousands of designs that are created by designers all over the world and are available for anyone to purchase by the swatch or by the yard. Anyone can be a designer by uploading a design and getting a proof swatch. Once it’s available for sale, you get a commission on every purchase. The most important thing you need to know to get started? TACOS! Learn how Theme, Audience, Color, Object, Scale are the key to success when selling your designs and get answers to your questions about copyright, copycats and more.

Make Something “Craft” Classes • One session

Book a craft night! Get together virtually with a group of friends and have me teach you a project together. These projects all fit into 90 minutes – 2 hours and work GREAT as an online class. I’ll send you kits of materials ahead of time, so you can jump in ready to go with everything you need.

Make a Miniature Tapestry (Handcraft)

Create a small woven masterpiece using a laser cut bamboo loom. These playing card sized looms are easy to learn and you can finish your woven project in just an afternoon. Learn how to combine and weave with yarns, wool roving, beads and textured threads to create a landscape or abstract design.

Embroidered Poppy Pin (Handcraft)

Learn one of the most versatile embroidery stitches, the blanket stitch, to create a layered poppy pin made from wool felt. Stitch the edges of the petals and then assemble the blossom with stitched sequins to create a center with a little shimmer.

Bead Embroidered Dog (Handcraft)

Make a beaded & embroidered dog from wool felt, beads and sequins. Learn the backstitch to do some contrasting stitching. You can choose to finish your dog into a pin, keytag or holiday ornament.

Folded Paper Window Stars (Handcraft)

Learn to make folded paper stars from translucent glassine paper. These stars look complicated but use lots of simple layered repeating shapes to create the complex designs. Your completed stars can be hung in a window for a colorful display.

Origami Containers (Handcraft)

Learn to make six different paper containers, from a collapsing box, to a basket with cat ears, or an envelope sealed with a heart. These simple folded paper designs range in shapes from pockets to baskets which you can use on their own or incorporate into your journaling or other art projects.

Needle Tatted Snowflakes (Handcraft)

Needle tatting is a contemporary twist on a classic lace making technique.  Learn the basic stitches, knots and picots to make a simple snowflake design.  We will use larger yarns in class so you can easily see your stitches and will talk about working at different scale, adding beads and more. Includes a tatting needle that you will take with you.

Beginning Cross Stitch: Make an ornament (Handcraft)

Learn the basics of cross stitch. Choose a tiny motif: birds and bugs, 8-bit characters, dinosaurs, robots, dogs and more. Get tips for choosing the right needles and fabric, wrangling your threads. Finish off your sample into an ornament you can use to decorate for the holidays.

Woven Bracelets (Handcraft)

Learn how to use a small frame loom to create woven wearable art. It’s simple to set up and customizable with many different colors and weaving patterns. Once you are finished weaving, see how to add a ribbon crimp end and chain to fasten your bracelet.

Felted Cup Cozy (Handcraft)

It’s that season where your iced tea glass has condensation running down the sides. Make a reusable felted wool cup cozy to catch the drips. Using just wool and soapy water, we’ll make a ring of soft, sturdy felt fabric and fit it to your favorite cup.

Origami Dresses (Handcraft)

Learn to make folded paper models that look just like high fashion dresses. Watch a demo of how to use a free online kaleidoscope tool to make your own custom patterned papers that look like fashion fabrics. Then we’ll use some fun pre-patterned papers and learn how to fold the dresses step-by-step.

Paper Collage Native Plant Notecards (Handcraft)

Learn how to create MN native plant illustrations using collage techniques and cut painted deli paper. See a demo of how to make your own painted papers. Then use some artist-made papers provided in your kit to create your own design using plant photos for reference. Your finished pieces can be used as note cards or tiny art pieces.

Embroidered Sheep (Handcraft)

Make a bead embroidered sheep from layered wool felt, beads and sequins. Learn the backstitch to do some contrasting stitching. You can choose to finish your sheep into a pin, keytag or holiday ornament.

Half Day Classes • One session

In person or online. These classes can all be presented as a 3 hour session in-person or a 2 hour virtual demo/lecture with lots of time for Q&A.

Designing Signature Fabric Prints (Digital Fabric Design)

You don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to be able to digitally design and print your own fabrics. This class is packed with projects you can design using simple and low-cost digital design tools, most that work just from your web browser. You will learn how to create a variety of projects, from painted, doodled or digital artwork and gain the confidence you need to build on those basic instructions to make your own designs. Then, we’ll take a tour of everything you need to know about printing with Spoonflower, including tips about color, resolution and scale. For the virtual version of this class, because it’s not practical to watch a Zoom session and follow along with the online part of projects in real-time, this session will be presented as an interactive demo with hands-on components, handouts and links to refer to later, plus lots of opportunities to ask questions. No fabric design experience necessary, but you should be comfortable with basic computer skills like opening and saving a file, copy/paste, and using a thumb drive. You do not need Photoshop or any special software for this class.

Designing Kaleidoscope Geometrics (Digital Fabric Design)

Get a taste of what it is like to digitally design and print your own fabric with Spoonflower. This session focuses on abstract designs, so you don’t need to feel limited by your drawing skills. We’ll start with simple hands-on art, transform it into pixels, and create two seamlessly repeating geometric patterns all in one session. No special software or computer skills are required; you can create amazing patterns using just your web browser and some simple design tools. For the virtual version of this class, because it’s not practical to watch a Zoom session and follow along with the online part of projects in real-time, this session will be presented as an interactive demo with hands-on components, handouts and links to refer to later, plus lots of opportunities to ask questions.

No fabric design experience necessary, but you should be comfortable with basic computer skills like opening and saving a file, copy/paste. You do not need Photoshop or any special software or equipment. 

Tea Towel from a Recipe Card (Digital Fabric Design)

Do you have a favorite handwritten recipe card in your collection? Make your own keepsake tea towel by scanning your grandmother’s handwritten recipe card and learning how to scale it up to fill a fat quarter of fabric. See how to upload and digitally print it on to linen-cotton fabric with Spoonflower to make a one-of-a-kind tea towel. Bring a 5×3 inch recipe card with you to class; see supply list for details. Your printed fabric fat quarter will be mailed to you after class.

No fabric design experience necessary, but you should be comfortable with basic computer skills like opening and saving a file, copy/paste, and using a thumb drive. You do not need Photoshop or any special software or equipment. 

Macro Photo to Digital Fashion (Digital Fabric Design)

Design fabrics using macro photos of everyday objects. First we’ll do a hands-on photoshoot with our smart phones to capture images of everyday objects like beads, feathers, pebbles and textures. Get ideas for lighting effects and adjusting focus as well as framing your images. Then we will edit our photos while learning about cropping, resizing, resolution and ratios to create a finished file that is ready to print at large scale on a yard of fabric. 

Fabrics to Match your Decor (Digital Fabric Design)

Learn to design your own hand-drawn fabric designs from a simple marker doodle that we’ll translate into a sophisticated mandala-like digital repeat and upload to Spoonflower.com to print on to fabric or wallpaper. You’ll choose the colors for your design by learning how to match the colors you see on your computer screen to colors in your house – your couch fabric, a favorite photograph, or kitchen paint colors – to make your own home decor accent pieces.

Etsy Shop Behind the Scenes (Business of Art)

Tips, techniques and words of wisdom from a long-time Etsy Seller about what it takes to run an Etsy shop. Take a behind-the-scenes tour of the technical side of running your shop, setting up items via the Shop Manager, and choosing shipping profiles; as well as marketing and search tips to help get you started on the right foot. Note, this is a lecture style class, you do not need to bring a computer.

10 Ways to Sell Your Work (Business of Art)

There are many ways to sell your work online, but how do you decide what will work best for you? Some platforms, like Etsy, are well known but there are new opportunities for getting your work out there that pop up every day. This session will be packed with information: compare and contrast selling options like Etsy, Pinterest, Amazon Handmade; making your work go further through RedBubble, Blurb, GotPrint, Moo; how to use payment options like Square and more. We will also take a look at what it takes to really get started: what is a realistic timeline for your first sales, how to build momentum and how to decide what works for you.

Photo Basics: Editing Digital Images (Digital Photography)

Don’t know your MB from your DPI? This session will help you out with the vocabulary of digital photographs and images. Every publication, show jury and call-for-entry has a different set of requirements for your images. Learn how to re-size, crop and rename your images to fit the requirements for submitting them and most especially to translate and unravel the requirements with confidence.  We will do a number of practice exercises and have time for questions and discussion.

Photos in a Snap (Digital Photography)

A quick crash course in photographing your work using your smartphone to capture and edit images. Learn tips for using everyday materials to light your work and basic edits that can help your photos shine.

Design your own Typeface (Digital Fabric Design)

Learn how to create your own font or typeface! Using your favorite art materials, you design a whole alphabet of letters in your favorite style. Once your letters are drawn, painted or cut out, you scan/photograph and upload them and using a free online tool you can make them into a font you can download and use on your computer. Get tips for fine tuning your font, styling your letters and more.

Intro to Pixlr

Get started with simple but powerful graphic design app, Pixlr E. Pixlr is free, works right in your web browser, and is an easy and accessible tool to start designing your own graphics, editing photos, designing fabrics and more. Learn step-by-step how to create and edit designs and use many of the built in tools. This class will be presented as a demo with detailed live Q&A. Because it is not feasible to complete a project on your computer while simultaneously watching a Zoom presentation, you will complete any projects on your own after class has ended. You do not need any special software or equipment for this class; all parts of the project can be completed using your own computer and basic web browser.

Multi-Session Classes • 1-5 Days

Fabrics from Scratch: An Intro to Designing & Printing Your Own Fabrics (Digital Fabric Design)

You don’t need to be a Photoshop pro to be able to digitally design and print your own fabrics. This class is packed with projects you can design using simple and low-cost digital design tools, most that work just from your web browser. You will learn how to create a variety of projects, from repeating geometric patterns to a faux batik print, and gain the confidence you need to build on those basic instructions to make your own designs. Great designs don’t always just start with opening up a blank digital file, so we will learn techniques to transform cut paper art, drawings and paintings into pixels too. Then, we’ll take a tour of everything you need to know about printing with Spoonflower, including pro tips about working with color, resolution and scale.

No fabric design experience necessary, but you should be comfortable with basic computer skills like opening and saving a file, copy/paste, and using a thumb drive. You do not need Photoshop or any special software for this class.

(This session works best as a 1 day, 6 hour class)

Adobe Photoshop for Fabric Design (Fabric Design)

The focus of this workshop will be an introduction to working with Adobe Photoshop as a fabric design tool. We will spend 3 intense days getting to know the tools in the software to make seamless repeats, layers and more. Becka will teach you how to use the basic tools in Photoshop to edit, add layers and design seamless textures using Photoshop. The goal is to help you understand how the Photoshop tools and techniques work so that you can make the designs you have in your head. Class time will be focused on practice with tools and techniques like creating seamless textures, learning how to work with layers, and understanding the settings for tools to accomplish specific effects.

Becka will also talk about using Spoonflower to print your fabrics and how to set up your file resolution and color for success using Spoonflower’s print on demand service. She will have samples of all of the Spoonflower fabrics and talk about optimizing your design for printing on different surfaces, troubleshooting your designs and choosing the right fabric for your project. We will discuss color and resolution, so you have the skills to make prints that turn out just the way you want them to.

Why would you choose Photoshop vs Illustrator to create your fabric designs? Photoshop is great at rich textures and gradients of color, art effects like watercolor or paint-look designs, photographic elements, blended colors, soft edges, and layers. Illustrator is great at geometrics and precise edges, modern clean designs, graphic elements and icons, solid colors. If you are trying to choose which app to learn, think about the kinds of designs you most want to make. Both programs can really do far more than I have listed, but my list is to give you an idea of what things are easier to do in one vs the other.

For this class, you do not need drawing or painting skills; no experience with Photoshop, Illustrator or fabric design is necessary, although you should be familiar with the Spoonflower site and comfortable with basic computer functions.

Adobe Illustrator for Fabric Design (Fabric Design)

The focus of this workshop will be an introduction to working with vectors and Adobe Illustrator as a fabric design tool. Why vectors? Designing with vectors gives you a lot of flexibility with size and scale, options to easily create colorways and edit your designs, and the ability to create smooth lines and simple repeating patterns in just a few steps. The goal for this class is for you to learn to use the basic vector drawing tools and techniques and have time to practice with them while you have expert help to troubleshoot. Unlike painting with brushes in Photoshop, Illustrator uses a very different kind of tool to create and join shapes together to build up your design with points, corners and curves.

Becka will also talk about using Spoonflower to print your fabrics and how to set up your file resolution and color for success using Spoonflower’s print on demand service. She will have samples of all of the Spoonflower fabrics and talk about optimizing your design for printing on different surfaces, troubleshooting your designs and choosing the right fabric for your project.

For this class, you do not need drawing or painting skills; no experience with Photoshop, Illustrator or fabric design is necessary, although you should be familiar with the Spoonflower site and comfortable with basic computer functions.

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Contact Me

Private Lessons & Mentoring

If you are interested in hiring me for a private lesson, either in person or online, email me and let’s talk. Private lessons are generally $25-$40 per hour. We can meet at a coffee shop (post-COVID), have a Zoom Meeting (I can host), Google Hangout or talk on the phone. I am happy to work with you to figure out what works best.

I am happy to work with you to

  • help you create a special fabric design with your artwork or to commemorate a special occasion
  • set up your Etsy shop and work with you on descriptions and tags and settings
  • troubleshoot something you are struggling with in Photoshop or Illustrator or on Spoonflower

I rarely take on commissions to design fabrics for someone or using someone else’s art or logo. I do not do sewing-for-hire or photography for other people.