Perhaps the best time to go is while you are learning the basics, Pam. I studied puppetry on my own and discovered that I had to unlearn some bad habits once I attended a Puppet Productions workshop. The same is true for the way letters are formed. Once you choose a method it can be difficult to change. The workshops LOVE to have newbies and people are extremely helpful. I have never been to VentHaven. (Work stops me.) But I have enjoyed conventions in Vegas and through Creative Ministry http://www.creativemin.com
) . I'm sure Venthaven is filled with the same encouragement.
Here is an example. I have seen many great vents who never took a class on puppetry and they end up biting their words. It is a simple fix if you catch it early on.
And there are better methods of replacing a B or an M than with a D or an N. The workshops will teach you those before they become so ingrained that it is hard to consider something else.
Biggest reason: You will get to see the Axtell puppets up close and even try them on and see which you like. AND if you carry one around with you other people will tell you what they do with their similar Axtell puppet.