About us

Enrich lives and build community through joyful, hands-on learning with master artisans.

Video Introduction to Arbutus Folk School

The Arbutus Folk School, is a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Olympia, Washington.  The school provides enlivening learning experiences through a wide-range of activities focused on fostering appreciation, knowledge and access to craft, music, community, celebrations and lore.


  • Create a rich, positive environment that inspires lifelong learning in a non-competitive environment
  • Promote and preserve the knowledge, skills, crafts, celebrations and stories of the past and present
  • Help students recognize and develop their creativity, talents and interests in a student-centered environment that affirms individual differences
  • Foster the concept of intergenerational learning
  • Provide creative and meaningful experiences for individuals, families and groups
  • Seek to develop genuine collaboration with the school’s teacher-artists, promote public participation in and appreciation of their craft
  • Advance appreciation for cultures indigenous to the Puget Sound region and assist in their preservation
  • Promote exploration and celebration of a variety of cultural craft traditions
  • Build community resiliency by advancing time-tested economic, environmental and social sustainability around the local craft economy.

Depending on the subject, the classes will vary in length, number of students and cost.  Some classes may be taught in a single session or some may meet several times a week for several months.  The school will offer weekend intensive classes, retreats and weeklong camps.

The Arbutus Folk School strives to become the heart of Pacific Northwest craft just as these schools have been in their regions for generations.  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 evolved out of 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.

Our core program areas at this time are:

  • Wood Arts
  • Fiber Arts
  • Ceramic Arts
  • Metal Arts
  • Music
  • Stonecarving
  • Living Arts

Meet the Board 

A Short History

What is a Folk School?

Why Arbutus?

Contact Us