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Indulge Your Inner Hobbyist With Dabble

By Lizz Kannenberg in Arts & Entertainment on Jun 28, 2011 4:00PM

Ever wanted to try making your own pasta? Composting? HTML coding? It’s not uncommon to have your interest in a new hobby piqued only to chicken out when it comes to signing up for multiple-lesson packages in an unchartered activity. Commitment-phobes (and your wallets) rejoice - Chicago startup Dabble is here to connect you with a one-time-only class on a plethora of wide-ranging topics, all designed to help you decide whether you’re really the knitting-, portrait drawing- or cupcake decorating-type.

Founded by young entrepreneurial vets Erin Hopmann and Jessica Lybeck, Dabble is based on the simplest of knowledge-sharing concepts: If you’re good at something, help others learn and enjoy it. Anyone can teach a Dabble class - from seasoned professionals to hobbyists with a knack - and for just $20 per one-to-three-hour class, the sessions are open to the public.

When Chicagoist was invited to take a complimentary class, I opted for one that I probably wouldn’t have pegged myself as enjoying - Intro to Welding - in the spirit of truly ‘dabbling.’ The class was held in the studio headquarters of Midwest Metal Works and taught by founder and master welder Stephen Blake Christena, a seasoned teacher who got us close enough to welding shape to fire up the MIG welder and give it a go.

While I definitely don’t have a natural ability to weld, the class was wicked fun, informative and just the right about of wacky. Meeting seven other aspiring metal smiths was an added bonus, and that’s a big part of what makes Dabble tick - the social nature of learning and teaching with one’s peers.