Am I totally behind the times? Am I the last person on Earth to learn about the Craftsy website? I am so incredibly excited about this find that I can barely contain myself.
In case I’m not the only one who hasn’t heard of it, let me share this corner of internet awesomeness with you: Craftsy is an online video training/tutorial site for people who love to make all sorts of crafty stuff. They have video classes for cooking, baking, cake decorating, knitting, sewing, jewelry making, and GOSH, a ton more. I stumbled onto the site while looking for a cake decorating tutorial and I found that they have eleven different classes available on the topic, ranging from beginner trainings to advanced level stuff.
You might balk like I did at first. Why would I pay for a video tutorial that I could get for free on YouTube? Besides the fact that these videos are all professional quality, the site is a learning community, and the whole point is to integrate an interactive component to keep Craftsy users inspired and learning by helping each other (instructors included). Besides the fact that learning by video is second only to learning in person, on Craftsy you can post questions to the class board and have your questions actually answered by both the greater community and the instructors themselves. And each class has a set of printable PDF materials that include recipes, patterns, and anything else you may need for the class.
I haven’t even talked about the best part, yet. The classes are all taught by people you actually want to learn from – we’re talking cookbook authors, Food Network pastry chefs, and people who are at the top of their game. The instructors update the courses with new announcements, and what I find the most exciting is that you can ask them a question, and they answer. Like really truly. Yes, you too can ask Peter Reinhart a question about baking artisan bread, and he will answer it. It’s mind boggling, really, to have such access to teachers of this calibre.
The video tutorials are setup in neat, bite-sized lessons, with topic markers in the videos so you can fast forward to the part you want to watch again, or reply that one section over and over again while you’re working on the project yourself (this feature alone is a deal-maker for me). Another useful community feature: users can post photos of their work from a class, and others can comment back with questions and answers. It’s pretty nifty.
Since we’re all food lovers here, I highly recommend you check out the Food Craft and Cake Decorating sections. My favorite classes so far have been:
- Artisan Bread Baking with Peter Reinhart
- Classic Croissants at Home with Colette Christian
- Decadent Chocolate Cakes by Alice Medrich
- Modern Piping (cake decorating) by Joshua John Russell
These are just the food classes. There are tons of tutorials on knitting, crocheting, quilting, papercraft, and more. It’s a veritable smorgasbord of craftiness. (oh wow, I even spelled that right in my frenzy of excitement!)
There’s a free class you can take, so you can get an idea of what Craftsy is all about: Modern Buttercream, taught by Joshua John Russell, a pastry chef on the Food Network. If you’ve ever wanted to know how to perfectly frost a cake, Joshua’s careful step-by-step videos will guide you to creating that bakery-quality showstopper. Since it’s a free class you won’t get to ask Joshua himself any questions, but the community features are still open and you can still see what the site it all about.