I wonder what the Guinness World Record is for a sculpture workshop?!
I was invited as a special guest speaker by the Australian Institute of Embalmers to their annual conference in Brisbane last October and I delivered a Restorative Arts Sculpture Workshop taster to 90 attendees.
Now, this gig had its share of dramas but it also had a tonne of positives as well.
After a lot of toing and froing, I was able to get all of my materials to the venue. And then myself about a week later.
I knew that I was flying in late and that everyone else had arrived the day before but that’s the life of a guy with a side gig.
So, I finally found an Uber to get me to the venue and I arrive just in time to see everyone queuing up to get on the buses to go to dinner! I shake a few hands as I rush by, grab my key and rush up to my room for the fastest, shower, and shirt ironing I have ever done in my life!
I make it down just in time for the last bus to arrive and I hop in and drop in a seat.
The AIE does not do anything by halves and this dinner was a testament to that. We all boarded a large old fashioned paddlewheel boat to be served a magnificent buffet and drinks, all to be followed by great conversation, a DJ and dancing.
I caught up with all of my students from past workshops and finally began to relax.
We were kicked off the boat about 12am and bused back to the hotel. A few went on for drinks elsewhere but I declined because I was up for my talk the next day.
I went to my room, prepped everything and then fell asleep about 2am.. Only to be woken an hour later but everyone coming back from their drink search…apparently they found some! Luckily for me… they had all lost their room keys and decided to continue the party outside my door until 4am.
When I woke up 3 hours later, it all went good and bad at the same time for the next 6 hours.
I went to set up my laptop and overhead camera and no one in the venue knew how to work anything. I finally sussed it out about an hour later, set up the tables and then I am told that they are running long with the presentation before mine and that they will be an hour late.
Ok… ok.. no problem. This doesn’t affect me. Now, I don’t know if you have ever done a seminar or talk before but 90 people isn’t that different from 9 people…unless something goes wrong.
So, I start and everything is going swimmingly. People are learning and laughing and they are all seeming to enjoy themselves. And then, out of the blue, the organizer comes up to me and whispers in my ear that my time is to be cut down by an hour because they started an hour late.
Now, mind you.. I’m already an hour and a half into a 3-hour workshop. Ok, think fast…What’s the first thing I do? I tell everyone that I have just been told that my time is to be cut down. For which I get a bunch of satisfying boos and hisses!. But, I say.. “That’s ok we will still get a lot done in the next half an hour.”
So here I am speeding through an hour and half’s worth of work in 30 min and then, about 15 minutes in, alarms start going off everywhere..”THIS IS AN EMERGENCY ..THIS IS AN EMERGENCY… THERE IS A FIRE IN THE BUILDING AND EVERYONE IS TO EVACUATE!”
What the hell?! Really? LOL.. after a few minutes of this we are told that there is no emergency but regardless.. my original momentum was gone.. and my time is at an end.
Afterward, everyone came and told me that they probably would’ve crumbled after the first setback. But that they really enjoyed themselves overall.
The rest of the weekend, I got to explore and network which was excellent but at the end of the day…the claim to fame was a 90 person Sculpture Workshop!
A huge THANK YOU to the AIE for inviting me to a very full on, yet interesting weekend! Outside of cutting my demo short, everything else was EXCELLENT!
Moral of the story? Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from reaching your goal. No matter how insurmountable the obstacles seem to be, you can still make it through it… if you want to!