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Adult Enrichment Coordinator Gretchen Carlson shares a personal story about how one Create class inspired a new passion.

Education is like seed planting. We never know the extent to which one tiny, seemingly insignificant idea can impact our lives and how much joy can come from one class.

If you have a story like this, I would love to hear it. I will use this article to give you an example of how this happened to me with my connection to an Adult Enrichment Create class.

In 2009, I was interviewing an instructor, Layl McDill, owner of Clay Squared in Minneapolis. Layl is an award-winning polymer clay artist whose work has been shown in galleries nationwide. Her work was mesmerizing to me, and I knew I wanted to register for the class we were setting up with her.

New to clay, I got to start from the very basics. She assumed we knew nothing, and she (at least as it concerned me), was right! When I returned home after the two hour class, I was still energized to work with the clay! But what could I do with the patterned clay I had created?

Cover a light switch? (I tried.)

Wrap a spatula? (yep.)

From then on, I was hooked.

That summer I was at a garage sale in Brainerd with my sister, Libby, and she spotted a  handmade necklace. “Hey, I think you could make something like this with your clay!” I quickly ran to see what she was holding. Sure enough, there in her hand was all the inspiration I needed to give it a try.

When I first completed a piece, I was amused.

Did I just create a necklace that might actually be wearable?!

I surprised myself! I am not a big jewelry person, nor would I have considered myself an artist. I have to admit, some of the pieces were so bad they were fodder for a giggle session with my sisters. But a few others began to emerge in my work that made me feel hopeful. I continued to make pendants, ordered a few videos online to further my basic understanding of working with polymer clay, and spent many hours happily rolling, cutting, sanding, polishing and making the pendants into necklaces. I wore them, I gave them as gifts, then I began to sell them. The timing of this coincided with a work project here in Community Ed that I was involved with. We were doing the KIWI project – Kids International Wellness Initiative – and helping to raise money for New Hope for Africa orphanage.

So I started a home-based business called “Sweet Hope Jewelry” and gave a portion to New Hope for Africa. I enjoyed the creative process as well as the opportunity to bring my necklaces to sell at a few local craft shows. I also had fun teaching my young nieces and nephews as well as some friends how easy it is to work with polymer clay. They loved it!

One class. One seed planted. Unexpected blooms in many directions. Well worth it!

How about you?

What do you enjoy doing or in what area have you wanted to grow? When you find the right creative art, it seems to provide that wonderful mix of being both stimulating and relaxing at the same time! Exactly what we often need more of in this high stress world.

That’s where Community Ed comes in. We have a variety of creative things to try. Often our instructors will provide all of the supplies so you don’t have to wander around the art store searching for exactly the right stuff. And you don’t have to worry about trying that Pinterest project, only to find it showing up on the “34 Most Hilarious Pinterest Fails Ever.”

Seriously, we can help. To get started, take a look at our Create classes to find inspiration.

You might also consider giving the gift of a class to someone who would enjoy unwrapping an EXPERIENCE more than a box.

Then don’t be surprised if one class leads you somewhere unexpected and wonderful. It can happen.