Okay, wow, yes, I have completely confirmed that my enjoyment of a class is mostly dependent on the other students in the class. This is a new revelation for me, and might be limited to just hands-on classes, or even just printing classes, but, ho, boy, is the correlation strong (one might say direct).
Today's class was a photopolymer plate making class, where we learned how to make custom, metal backed, plastic plates for letterpress printing. The basic process is to expose parts of a light-senstive plastic which is bonded to a metal plate, to ultraviolet light. The plastic that isn't covered up hardens, the rest of the unexposed plastic stays soft and can then be washed away, revealing a custom printing plate.
The process is straight forward, and very similar to the silk screening screen making process I learned in college, and vaguely recall. The class taught us how ot use the center's equipment specifically.
There were five other students in tonight's class: two students from a local art college, a couple who owned their own printing press and an outgoing software project manager. The "adults" of the class, the four of us old enough to be the parents of the two art college students, spent a while talking outside, which was nice in the warm, summer-like evening. The couple were on their second press, having accidently dropped their first press and ruining it when moving it into their garage. The guy of the couple seemed to know a lot, and explained concepts well. I thought he was very Bob Diller-like, so immediately liked him. The woman was a little spacey, but not in a clueless way, more in a I'm-digesting-what-you-just-said way.
The class material itself wasn't complicated, nor very dense. The instructor reviewed it all fairly quickly.
Turns out, the two art college girls were in the class because they had an assignment due on Saturday and had forgotten how to create the plates necessary to complete the project. The looked online, found this class, and decided to take it in order to relearn the plate making process, make a plate and finish their assignment. Although I applaud their resourcefulness in finding and taking the class, I couldn't help but be annoyed at the too specific questions they'd ask and the just the fact that wouldn't reviewing their own notes or asking at their college been cheaper and more efficient than paying $100 for a new class plus lab time? Or even asking a classmate for help?
One of the two students brought in a negative that, although right read, emulsion down, wasn't reverse, and more than once confused the instructor in its processing (Why didn't this part wash off? Oh yes, this ENTIRE AREA was exposed).
As annoyed as I was by the students, I was far more annoyed by the end of the class by the software manager guy. He had taken the same classes I had taken, but was much more vocal in sharing his knowledge.
The class finished early, so I asked the instructor for an overview of how she handled lining up multiple printing plates (also known as registering) when printing in different colors on the same piece. Now, I didn't want to listen to a know-it-all guy tell me what I myself learned in the various classes I had already taken. I wanted to hear what someone who prints on thousands of dollars of paper a year has to tell me about her process is, what tricks does she use, what bits of wisdom could she share.
Instead, the know-it-all guy stood right next to me talking at a louder volume than the instructor, neither of which stopped for the other. I completely missed what she said and wanted to punch the guy, or at least tell him to shut the fuck up already, you're not telling me anything I haven't already learned and YOU DON"T HAVE PRACTICAL EXPERIENCE so SHUT UP.
Although I walked away knowing enough to be able to rent the equipment, I definitely left the class completely annoyed.
Boo, know-it-all people who can't shut up.
At least I've learned that even though I do know it all, I don't have to share.