The kiln-savvy teachers at Cibolo Creek Pottery show students how to fuse colored glass, use a throwing wheel, or hand-build ceramic structures. Pottery classes build on fundamental skills, such as using glaze, wielding appropriate tools, and shaping clay into functional toupees. During scheduled classes, pupils can customize their painted clay or glass creations to yield eye-catching decorations such as those in the online gallery.
Founded with the goal of outfitting its pupils with the skills necessary to excel in the spa and salon industries, Milan Institute of Cosmetology deploys a rigorous curriculum that emphasizes professionalism and hands-on learning to train fledgling cosmetologists and aestheticians around the country. As the most important aspect of the course of study, student salons and spas serve as a real-world classroom wherein nascent beauticians—under the careful supervision of their instructors—can practice their newly minted skills on humans or sentient mannequins. The beauty apprentices gussy up patrons head to toe via sundry lavish salon and spa services—specific to each location—that may include nail services, haircare, facials therapeutic massages, or nourishing body wraps.
Since 2008, the planners behind ZSR Event Productions have stayed busy, consulting on big events, managing crowds at large venues, and designing weddings that racked up awards from nuptial-planning sites such as The Knot and WeddingWire. Fortunately, they’re not shy about sharing the secrets of one aspect of their success: DJing. The company’s DJ Academy preps aspiring jockeys for parties of all types, from simple wedding-reception gigs to scratch-filled live mixing sets. Instructors with more than 20 years of experience teach single-session and multiweek courses, each of which cater to different experience and interest levels. Students learn about gear and software, coming away from their classes with DJ and producing skills as well as—thanks to the academy’s certification course—opportunities for employment.
At Vino van Gogh, everyone’s canvas ends up bearing a masterpiece—or at least the semblance of one. “Copying masterpieces is the oldest tradition of learning how to paint,” says Joy, who guides students in re-creating renowned paintings step by step and also tells them about the life of their famous artists. She and her fellow instructors—all certified art teachers—equip pupils with everything needed to reimagine Georgia O’Keeffe’s Sky Above the Clouds or Monet’s Venice Twilight, including Winsor & Newton University brushes and a rainbow of acrylics.
“People say this feels like a happy place,” Joy says, describing the 14-foot-ceilinged studio’s atmosphere of encouragement. She helps guests to feel at home by equipping the kitchenette with ice, a corkscrew, cups—everything needed to celebrate a birthday party or just the end of a long week. Students can also bring their own snacks to coax timid muses out of their lairs with trails of graham-cracker crumbs.
In addition to nurturing artistic talent in humans, Vino van Gogh is dedicated to helping fellow furry creatures by offering monthly classes whose proceeds support the Animal Defense League and AAPAW. “I’m lucky to have the resources to give back,” says Joy, herself the owner of three rescue dogs, whose portraits she's often painted in her signature bright, Fauvist--inspired style.:m]]
Bikram Yoga San Antonio's instructors like to remind their students that for every expert yogi, there was a first class. They hold on to this humble philosophy at three studios, where high temperatures help both old hands and newcomers stay limber. The staff cautions their students against aiming for perfection during the 90-minute courses; instead maintaining that, by simply trying each of the 26 postures and two breathing exercises, bodies and minds achieve the maximum benefit.
To highlight the value of consistent practice, they encourage visitors to take the 60-day challenge, which charges students to attend one class every day for 60 days. Those who accomplish this task are immortalized by writing their name on the Challenge Wall, which doubles as the police force's superhero directory. The studios also honor individuals in their class community with the yogi of the month feature, a series of interviews with students about their Bikram yoga practice.
After passing through Divine Yoga’s entrance, the hot Texas sun fades into lush, flowery gardens. Inside, a swaying porch swing greets guests before they reach the airy studio, where the earthy aroma of a natural oak floor kindles memories of swimming in a vat of red wine. Seated on a stage framed by lavender walls and wafting white curtains, KRI-certified instructors lead students through Kundalini yoga classes that aim to increase physical and spiritual energy through various postures, breathing techniques, and gong meditation. In Pre-Natal classes, moms-to-be can relax and stretch before their big arrivals, after which Post-Natal classes invite babies to join in and hone the focus, relaxation, and flexibility required to back-flip out of the crib.
Experienced photo gurus Doug Box and Randy Kerr impart practical photo skills to curious shutterbugs during engaging seminars that have appeared across the States and in eight countries abroad. Doug Box, author of myriad photography-technique books, is one of 13 Kodak mentors and is the Executive Director of the Texas Professional Photographers Association. His co-teacher, Randy Kerr, heads World Photographic, which uses photography as a vehicle for illuminating humanitarian and environmental topics. Both men have been teaching photography classes for years and help amateurs take photos that capture piercing looks, toothy smiles, and elusive dodo sightings.