Craft Philosophy

Arbutus Folk School promotes the introduction, primary instruction and appreciation of craft traditions within the community. It also offers students the opportunity, in a few core disciplines, to deepen their skill and understanding toward the ultimate goal of  becoming competent craftspeople.

The roots of the word ‘manufacture’ mean ‘to make by hand.’ But the global industrial economy has largely taken manufacturing out of our hands. Today there is a great revival in reclaiming the craft traditions once common in our communities to design and make by hand every kind of useful and beautiful thing now largely made for us by faraway machines.

The mastery of a craft is a lifelong practice, and it entails far more than the mere accumulation and refinement of skills. The ethos of serious craftwork can summon from within us a temperament for work, attention and focus as well as humility, curiosity, patience, and responsibility.

The practice of craft commands a respect and understanding of materials, methods and tools as well as the aesthetic scope of the craft. A craftsperson will seek to deeply understand and honor tradition while developing new methods and tools to bring something new to light and enrich the craft as a whole.

Through patient and diligent practice, the craftsperson fashions their own mind and body into refined instruments that work in concert with materials and tools to open a conduit for creative expression.

Ultimately, a master craftsperson will seek to impart to others the spirit and substance of their knowledge, in hopes of inspiring the continuation and development of their discipline. By helping to capacitate their community with new skills, and by serving as an inspiration through their own work, the craftsperson completes a circle that began with their earliest exposure to craft.

The Arbutus Folk School strives to become the heart of Pacific Northwest craft.  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.