Are you looking to learn a new skill this fall? These informal classes and workshops are here to help. 

By Abigail Rosenthal

As September rolls near, students begin preparing for a new course load. But that doesn’t mean learning a new skill is solely for those still in school. Whether you’ve been out for years or are just looking for a new hobby, Austin businesses and colleges are offering an abundance of informal classes this fall.

Intro to Beekeeping
Sustainable Food Center Teaching Garden
Sept. 23, 2 to 4 p.m.
Have you ever thought of housing bees? With backyard farming and gardening on the rise, Tara Chapman of Two Hives Honey is leading a class on the basics of beekeeping.
“We cover the costs, legal requirements, time commitments and common concerns,” Chapman says. “I love getting to see the wonderment on folks’ faces when they truly learn the ins and outs of a bee hive for the first time.”

Journals and Memoirs: Writing Down to the Soul
Thompson Conference Center
Oct. 28, 1 to 5 p.m.
If you have abandoned journals sitting on a bookshelf, this class is for you. This course helps narrow down techniques for memoir writing and journaling, whether it’s for personal writing or something to pass down to children or grandchildren. By taking this class, you’ll be able to preserve your own history. Plus, it’ll give you a reason to buy those fancy leather-bound journals.

Intro to Block Printing Workshop
Paper and Craft Pantry
Sept. 14, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The Paper + Craft Pantry is known for its steady rotation of fun workshops, from those featuring info on DIY home décor to calligraphy and hand-lettering. In this workshop, owner Pei Sim leads attendees through carving their own block print. Any cards you send out after this workshop will have your own fabulous printed personal touch.

Heat Lover
Thai Fresh
Oct. 16 at 6 p.m.
Thai Fresh’s Chef Jam Sanitchat has been teaching her Thai cooking classes to Austinites for 14 years.
“My favorite thing about it is the ability to share my childhood experience cooking by my grandmother and my mom’s side,” Sanitchat says. “I am inspired by the students’ understanding of all the flavors, and by their ability to create the dishes with my instructions.”
Learn to make classics like drunken noodles with chicken and green curry.

Tart Baking
Make It Sweet
Oct. 12, 6 to 9 p.m.
As the largest cake-supply store in Central Texas, Make It Sweet hosts a variety of baking and decorating classes. In this course, students will bake a variety of seasonal tarts. What’s even better than leaving with an armful of mini tarts at the end of the night? This adults-only class is BYOB.

Photographing Iconic Austin Events and Locations
Oct. 22 to Nov. 18, Saturdays and Sundays, times vary
Part of the University of Texas‘ informal courses, this class brings you to the heart of the city. Photographers of all levels are welcome to come explore Austin and learn more about photography, visiting this year’s Day of the Dead Parade, Barton Springs and the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk. You’ll leave knowing more about composition and singling out subjects, great for refining your existing skills or aiding in creating an Instagram-worthy photo.

Bean to Bar: Make Your Own Chocolate
Sept. 15, 6 to 8 p.m.
You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good bar of chocolate. Impress your friends with your chocolate knowledge after participating in SRSLY Chocolate’s workshop. Owner Bob Williamson takes attendees from beginning to end of the chocolate-making process.
“Together, we’ll roast and grind cacao beans into chocolate,” Williamson says. “Then we’ll make our own custom chocolate bars and labels. It’s a one-of-a-kind hands-on experience with everyone’s favorite food: chocolate.”

Portfolio for Artists
Austin Book Arts Center
Sept. 23, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
$90 tuition plus $15 materials fee
If you’re an artist or photographer, you know how hard it can be to present your work. This class teaches how to create your own portfolio to protect those precious pieces.

Austin Community College’s Jewelry as Your Side Hustle
Highland Business Center
Sept. 26 to Oct. 10, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.
If you’ve got an eye for style, love working with your hands and want to pursue it as a business, sign up for ACC’s jewelry-making class. Students will learn how to make, market and sell jewelry, with each class featuring a lecture and a project.

Foraging for Native Edibles
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
This class is one you don’t want to miss. Learn how to identify and forage for foods that are safe out in nature at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.


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