Friday, March 11, 2016

Quilting Workshops in India

It has been more than an year that I was made one of the two BERNINA Brand Ambassadors for India.

Ever since, I have been conducting workshops in Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore & Sangli. Very soon, I will be travelling to Chennai as well as Hyderabad to conduct a few workshops.

The quilting scene in India is totally unlike what you see in other countries.

In other countries, the organizer pays the teacher a sum, makes the travel and accommodation arrangements, provides for meals and miscellaneous expenses. The students bring their own material, including, sometimes, the machines.

In India, the picture is a lot different. 

When I plan a workshop, I have to make all my arrangements myself - travel, accommodation, meals. Not only that, I also have to prepare and carry kits for the participants - the cost of which is included in the cost of the workshop. Remember, also, that there is no assurance on the organizer's behalf about the number of students! I have sometimes conducted workshops with just ONE student!
It is usually at times like this that I end up spending money from my pocket rather than earning anything.

Comparatively, my experience of doing a workshop at the Bernina Creative Center in Mumbai has been so much better! Its less costly for me to travel, and since they have regular workshops, the turnout is pretty good. Plus Ajay Gupta and his wife, Deepika are are super supportive! She makes the most awesome lunches EVER!

How much do I normally charge for an intermediate level workshop?

Rs 3000 per day per student. (That comes to about 45$). These are just my fees. Not the cost of the workshop for the students.

How do I break it up?

1. Travel : I usually assume I will have 6 students in a workshop. So my travel expenses are divided among the 6. If I am doing more than one workshop on my trip, I divide my travel expenses first by the number of workshops and then divide each by 6  to arrive at a sum.
If the destination is nearby, it usually rounds off at about Rs 500 per student. If I have to fly, it goes up to Rs 1500, if I'm flying for a single workshop!

2. Accommodation and meals : I consider this at a round figure of Rs 4800 per day. Once again divided over those 6 students, it comes down to Rs 800 per student.

3. Kits : I made individual kits for every student. I carry everything that is required for the workshop, including thread, scissors, pencil, carbon papers etc. Normally the kit can cost anything between Rs 500 - Rs 1500. And I have to be prepared for the class to be full, so even if there is just a couple of students, I usually carry enough kits for about 15 people!

So what do I earn after I conduct a workshop?

Unless my workshop is full and has 10-12 participants - NOTHING!!!

More often than not, I am happy that I did not have to pay from my pocket for something!

Then why do I do it?

Because I love to!
I love to quilt.
I love to teach.
I love to share my knowledge.
I love to see others conquer their fears and make something that they never thought they could do!
I love to make new friends and have a blast!!!

I want to show people that all these things that I can make - ANYONE can do that!

Its not rocket science.

Am I not afraid that one of my students might do a better job than me?

NOT AT ALL! I am not that insecure (those who are, my advice to you would be - DON'T TEACH) I would actually love to see a student making better quilts than me! I will be proud when I tell others that I taught them!

Am I not afraid that someone I teach something to, will teach it to somebody else and earn money?

I cannot teach everyone! So I will be more than glad, if one of my students taught others. Yes, I would definitely expect a heads up from them, BEFORE they teach, but other than that, I'm all for spreading quilting as a hobby in India! Of course, if you are teaching my reverse applique portrait class, I would appreciate you buying individual copies of my book for every participant. If you drop me an email, I would be ready to work out a different rate for you!

Do you want me to come and teach in your town?

I would love to do that! Just drop me an email and we can work out the details! I must tell you, I am, usually, accompanied by my wonderful sister from another mother - Kausalya (or Kaa as she is known to her friends). Don't worry, you do not have to pay for her expenses, I will do that. But she makes some of the most boring workshops fun and the fun workshops even more fun for me and everyone else!!!

I cannot wait to come and teach in your town!!! If you do not have a creative center, don't worry, all we need is an enthusiastic group of quilters who are ready to come together along with their machines!


  1. I can understand the joy and wanting to share your knowledge with others, but not when you have to take a loss in teaching. Your time is valuable, as well as all the expenses of traveling, etc. Does Bernina not help you with the expenses?

  2. Hi Shruti, I had earlier been few times to your blog but I never got any response from you. I wanted to know you better and even thought of visiting your place to learn sewing. But I thought you were hardly interested in knowing and visiting my blog atleast once. I am interested in patchworking small pieces not big projects like quilting. I stay in Hyderabad and would be interested in your workshop.

    Here is my blog address, I am not much into sewing mostly into cross stitching and crochet but would like to learn the patchworking and quilting basics. I can try getting few more people to attend the workshop, not sure, but it depends on location as well.

    Hope you will respond this time.

  3. Oh I should have read this last week. Would have had some valuable insights when I had to deliberate the same issue. I do see that we share some similar thoughts. I agree teaching has to be based primarily on the desire to share. I do think that we should strive to get people to commit ahead of time to spare the instructors/organisers uncertainty about attendance.

  4. Wow! I am so thrilled to have found you. 😊😊😊 All the very best in your endeavors.


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