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Welcome to the Arbutus Folk School

Enriching lives and building community through joyful, hands-on learning with master artisans.

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Watch an Introductory Video to Arbutus Folk School

Woodworking, blacksmithing, fiber arts, ceramics and music.  Hand-made tools and musical instruments.  Growing and preserving food and playing music.  Seasonal festivals, dances and summer camps.  Intergenerational learning, historic preservation and cultural exchanges.  These activities describe the heart of the Arbutus Folk School (pronounced ar-BYOO-tus) located in Olympia, Washington.

The Arbutus Folk School brings together highly skilled teachers and artisans of crafts to offer rich, positive experiences that inspire lifelong learning.  Students will be able to explore the richness and variety of the Northwest’s unique cultural and craft heritage through activities which have served Northwest communities from one generation to the next.  Read about our Craft Philosophy here.

Upcoming classes and events will be communicated via our e-newsletter.  To sign up, enter your email address in the box on the right.  Classes currently scheduled will be listed on the “Current Classes” page.

Our core program areas Wood Arts, Ceramic Arts, Metal Arts, Fiber Arts, Music and Living Arts.  We are dedicated to developing our facility, equipment and deep program offerings to enrich even skilled crafters.

For a little peek into Arbutus, click here to view a video of “Folk Music 101” with Professor Banjo and several local young musicians performing at a recent music event.

The Arbutus Folk School is a 501(c)3 tax deductible non-profit.  Registration fees pay for instructor’s time and building rent.  However, all operational costs, equipment and tool replacement and services we require to operate are paid by individual contributions and small grants.  Becoming an Arbutus Guild Member is the best way to ensure a strong craft culture!  Additional ways to support the school can be found on the Support” page.

The Arbutus Folk School strives to become the heart of Pacific Northwest craft education. Our goal is to elevate the craft economy by supporting the highest quality of craft instruction, growing access to hand-crafted items and identifying and preserving craft culture, especially (though not exclusively) craft culture and design that has grown from the Pacific Northwest region.  Our programming is intended to support skills individuals seek to make useful and beautiful crafts for their own use, personal enrichment, or artistic endeavors, rather than being driven by industry, vocation, or trade standards.

 We proudly welcome students of any race, color, gender and national or ethnic origin.   Please contact us with questions or comments at: info “at” arbutusfolkschool “dot” org.

Upcoming events:

— Arbutus Folk School is hiring!  Job announcement here. AFS Job Announcement FINAL
–Bruce Molsky Oct 1, 2016 Banjo and Fiddle Workshops
–Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas Nov 18th 2016 Concert and Workshop
–Foghorn Stringband Concert and Workshops Dec. 9th and 10th. (Details soon!)
Open Mic: Every month on the second Monday: Acoustic Open Mic (7-9pm)
–The Old Time Jam is taking a break!

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