GTCC courses focus on upcoming holidays
September may be a bit early for Christmas shopping, but if you’re looking to jazz up your holiday decorating and baking this year, now’s the time to sign up.
Guilford Technical Community College’s continuing education program this fall is offering three courses specifically aimed at making your decorating more delightful and your baking more delectable — “Chrismons,” “Floral Holiday Decorations” and “Holiday Cake Decoration.”
Here’s a brief look at the three classes and what they have to offer:
• “Chrismons”: Betty Betts has been making chrismons since 1967 — and she’s been teaching others how to make them through GTCC since the late 1970s — so the Greensboro woman may well be the Triad’s leading expert on making chrismons.
“My mother and I used to make chrismons for our own personal tree,” she recalls. “But once we started doing that, we began putting our trees in our church (West Market Street United Methodist in Greensboro) one Sunday every December. Then I started doing programs at garden clubs and craft clubs, and it just grew from there until GTCC approached me about teaching a class.”
Betts explains chrismons are ornaments that are symbolic of the life of Christ — a cross, an open tomb, an angel, a star, a crown. Though they’re traditionally crafted with Styrofoam and beads, Betts designs her chrismons with just the beads and wire — and that’s the method she teaches in her 10-week class at GTCC.
“I probably have 350 to 400 different chrismon designs,” she says. “Some are just basic Christian symbols, like a cross, but then others are a combination of symbols, like a cross with ‘Alpha’ and ‘Omega’ on it, or a butterfly on it to represent the resurrection.”
Beginners are welcome in Betts’ class, she says, but be prepared to learn quickly.
“I work with my beginners as a group to get them learning the basics and some of the terminology,” she explains, “but then we get more advanced. Some of the chrismons take weeks to do — they’re very involved and tedious.”
• “Floral Holiday Decorations”: In this six-week class, wedding and special-events florist Jari Posey will teach students how to make mesh holiday wreaths and elegant Christmas centerpieces made from silk.
“One wreath we’re going to make will be made out of grapevine, and the other will be made out of mesh,” Posey explains. “For the centerpieces, we’ll be using Christmas greens and berries, along with Christmas ornaments.”
Posey, of Colfax, is the owner of Posies in the Meadow, a home-based floral business. She has about 18 years of professional experience.
Her class is open to crafters of all experience levels.
“Some of the people signing up have already taken my other floral class that I teach, but this is still an open class,” Posey explains. “I usually do hands-on, one-on-one steps, so it’s pretty easy to learn.”
• “Holiday Cake Decoration”: This four-week course will show students how to make a tiered Christmas cake and a holiday gift box cake.
“Last year we did a cake box and a snowman, and the year before that we did a Christmas tree,” says instructor Bessie Taylor. “We’ve also done a yule log. We might do something with a candy cane this time.”
Taylor, of Thomasville, has been baking and decorating cakes for nearly 40 years. She’s currently the pastry chef at the Sheraton Greensboro Hotel, and she’s been teaching this course at GTCC for about three years.
“It’s been a popular class,” Taylor says. “We really let our imaginations go wild, but I don’t think this class is really for beginners. I would recommend students should at least have a beginning class before taking this one, if not intermediate.”
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Guilford Technical Community College is offering the following holiday-themed classes this fall:
• “Chrismons,” led by instructor Betty Betts; Tuesdays, Sept. 10-Nov. 12, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at West Market Street United Methodist Church in Greensboro; $55.
• “Floral Holiday Decorations,” led by instructor Jari Posey; Wednesdays, Nov. 6-Dec. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., at GTCC’s High Point campus; $55.
• “Holiday Cake Decoration,” led by instructor Bessie Taylor; Tuesdays, Nov. 12-Dec. 3, from 6 to 8 p.m., at GTCC’s High Point campus; $40.
To register for any of these classes, or for further information, call GTCC at 454-1126.