Putting together a packet to send to people who are taking zoom classes with me is much like sending out love letters. I consider each item I enclose, carefully collect them together, imagining how the receiver will feel when they arrive.
For about two week now, nearly every day I’ve said to myself that this is the day that I will finish up the planning the papers for my next set of classes,
I also thought I would quickly decide what to use, as I’ve taught many of these pleated and diagonally folded structures in the past. I should know by now that dashing off decisions isn’t something I tend to do.
My planning page of notes is full of question marks, cross-offs, arrows, checks, underlining, measurements, circles, and 5 different colors of writing, to distinguish different thoughts. I will choose a paper for a particular technique , then I will remember how it went last time I taught it, how one or two people had a hard time, and what could change up to make things more clear? I’ve experienced, more times than I could count, how a small shift in how I demonstrate something can have a huge effect on outcome. Sometimes that means preparing materials differently.
Turns out there are just a few of items that stay the same this time around.
Sometimes the paper I send out has been stored in my workshop for a long time. I have these papers because I like them so much. They’ve been protected in the precious bit of storage space that I have for such things. I will not be able to replace many of them because they are no longer being made, have risen in price dramatically, or I just don’t know how to identify them. I used to hate parting with these papers, and it does feel a bit bittersweet to send them off into the world, but, as I’m getting older I ‘m thinking that I don’t want to get buried beneath what I could not let go of.
When all the decisions are made, and I am ready to lay everything out, all the papers and all the sizes get written down in a ledger that I keep in my workspace. The ledger is 100 pages long. I am sad to see that I am now on page 97.
Here are some things I keep in mind. First is that I may sell very few of the packs: I am clear about wanting people to source their own materials if they want to. More and more, I don’t require specific papers to be used in my zoom classes, I will recommendations to materials that are widely available. For me, putting the pack together isn’t about selling them as much as it about making sure I have completely planned out the classes I will be teaching.
The next thing I think about is why people find value is buying the packs. Sometimes my packs are more costly than this $14 one, but even this one, after tax and postage, ends up costing more like $20. I aim for people being thrilled with what they gotten. My goals for packets can differ. For this one, I want people to have the experience of folding with different kinds of paper (Tyvek, Elephant Hide, Stardream, and others) that are not easy to get in small quantities. People don’t need my pack to learn what I will be teaching, but the collections I send out offer options that may be enriching.
(An important detail about including small items: they get overlooked. I now gather anything small and place them together in a large envelope. Today’s packet has some clear plastic in it. I haven’t done anything to keep that from getting lost…maybe I will put some blue tape on it.)
There are other reasons to make packs available, such as convenience. It’s one less thing for people to think about when they’ve made time in their busy lives to take a class. Some people feel unsure of the paper sourcing decisions that they would make. Then there are those who enjoy the connection of getting package in the mail. It’s a connection I’m happy to provide, because it makes me feel good too.
Today I’ve finished assembling this packet. The first four orders are going out, and I’m celebrating!
Registration for this class, afternoon or evening zoom sessions, is open until October 9, 2022