Current Classes

Many of our classes fill quickly – register early!

If you are interested in becoming a member, you can find more details here

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All classes take place at the Arbutus Folk School 610 4th Ave. E., Olympia, WA 98501 (map) unless otherwise noted. Registering early helps us prepare and offer the highest quality experience for everyone! The Arbutus Folk School proudly welcomes students of any race, color, gender and national or ethnic origin.   At this time, students must be 18 years or older for the blacksmithing classes.

Cancellation Policy


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CURRENT AND UPCOMING CLASSES 


 Open Ceramics Studio – Handbuilding

Instructor: Sarah Farley
Dates: Monday evenings, except every 2nd Monday of the month
Time: 6-9 pm
Cost: $18 per night
Registration: Drop-ins welcome
No. of Students: Max. 5

Open studio time is unstructured time for students to practice independently to enhance their abilities. Participants are required to have basic pottery or hand building skill level and will be able to use the studio to work independently. This registration is for hand building techniques only; our wheels are reserved for students currently enrolled in wheel throwing classes at Arbutus Folk School. Instruction is not included in open studio time, though a studio aide will be on hand to answer questions. It includes use of the ceramic studio, tools, and equipment. Additional clay and firing fees will apply.

“A la carte” fees (bring cash or check to class):
Clay    – $10- $13 per 25 lb bag
Firing  – See chart
Glazes included in firing fee

Students currently enrolled in classes pay only for open studio time and do not need to pay additional fees for glaze and firings to participate in the open studio.

 

 


 Embroidery Circle

Arbutus is hosting an “Embroidery Circle” for those who want to meet up with other stitchers in the community.  We meet on a Sunday each month for 2 hours, from 10:30am – 12:30pm. If you have questions, need guidance, or just want to come share – this is the group for you!  All levels of experience are welcomed!  While the group will have a knowledgeable “guide,” we will all learn from each other!  Bring in your ideas and projects: let’s talk Embroidery!!  There is a minimal charge of $5 for each session to help with Arbutus overhead. Upcoming dates:

September 16
October 14
November 11
December 16

Drop-ins are welcomed as space allows. However, we strongly recommend registering in advance: if there are no advance registrations, that month will be cancelled.  Also, space is guaranteed for those who register in advance.

 

 


Youth Craft Class

Instructor: Hilary Morris
Dates: Thursday afternoons, Session I, Sept 13 – Oct 18; Session II, Oct 25 – Dec 6 (skips Nov 22 for Thanksgiving)
Times: 3:30 – 5:30 pm
Cost: $225
Registration Closes: 4 days before class
No. of Students: Min. 4, Max. 8
Ages 8-12

Class Description: Arbutus Folk School is delighted to continue offering our youth class! Hilary Morris will teach a variety of skills such as pottery, bookbinding, leather work, felting, paper crafts and more! Six-week sessions allow the opportunity to create within several mediums, with at least 5 take home projects. Students are encouraged to return for future sessions to create more! Ages 8-12 are welcome; we look forward to sharing these beautiful handcrafts with our young community!

 


Wool Felt Boots

Instructors: Peter Yencken
Dates: September 14, 15, & 16
Times: Friday 6-9 pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-3pm
Cost: $210 plus $35 to give to instructor on 1st day of class
Registration Closes: Sept 1
Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Class Description: Wool is the most amazing fiber!  Using only water and soap processing, it can be spun into yarn for knitting or the roving can be used for felting. In this class we will use roving and hot soapy water and add friction to create felt boots. This the wet felting method using a resist. These boots are made to fit perfectly to your own feet. We will put a sole on them if you want to use them outside. They are great for winter use inside and outside.

Please bring $35 at the start of class to pay the instructor for materials.

 


Bow Making

Instructors: Peter Yencken
Dates: September 15, & 16
Times: Saturday 10am-4pm, Sunday 9am-3pm
Cost: $168 plus $30 to give to instructor on 1st day of class
Registration Closes: Sept 1
Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Class Description: Bows have been used in many ways including: survival (both food gathering and protection), sport and meditation, and spiritual practice (Zen meditation). This class is a continuation of these ancient practices. You will learn the skills to build a long bow, how to choose the wood, the tools needed and their use, how to finish the wood, and make strings. By Sunday, the bow will be ready to shoot. You will be taught the “instinctive” shooting method. You will leave the class with a finished bow, one arrow, and enough understanding to be able to build a bow on your own.

Please bring $30 at the start of class to pay the instructor for materials.

 


Arrow Making

Instructor: Peter Yencken
Dates: September 16
Times: 9am-5pm
Cost: $105 plus $20 to give to instructor on 1st day of class
Registration Closes: Sept 1
Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Class Description: In this class, students will make arrows in the traditional British method using hand-tied feathers and a variety of shaft materials ranging from a $1 dollar poplar dowel from Lowe’s to $4 Port Orford cedar shaft.  We will use both purchased archery feathers which students will cut by hand and full turkey feathers which students will strip and cut. Students can make up to 5 arrows in the day.

Please bring $20 to pay to instructor at beginning of class.

 


Wheel Throwing: Intermediate to Advanced

Instructor: Ryan Lee
Dates: September 19 – October 24, Wednesday eves
Times: 6 – 9 pm
Cost: $280
Registration Closes: September 16
Skill Level: Some wheel throwing experience required.

Class Description: Students with a basic understanding of centering and throwing will continue to build on the fundamentals and refine basic shapes. The instructor will introduce new techniques and demonstrate making more complex shapes. Class will also explore consistency and intention while learning to weigh, measure, and use tools while throwing and trimming. Instructor will encourage students to complete a few specific class projects but students should also have their own goals and projects in mind.

Possible Class Projects:

Handled mug
Set of 4 tea cups or small bowls.
lidded vessel or place setting

 


Warp a Floor Loom; Weave a Scarf

Instructor:  Marjorie Erickson
Date:  2-day weekend workshop: September 22 & 23
Time:  8:30 am – 4:30 pm 
Cost: 
$226
Registration closes: Two weeks before 1st day of class
No. of Students: 
min. 3 max 5
Skill level: 
Beginner
Materials provided by student: Sock yarn-Look for yarn that is around 420m/100g or 460 yds/3.5 oz. This weight yarn may also be called fingering weight or sport weight. You will need a total of 800 yards— 400 yards for the warp and slightly less than that for the weft. Choose a solid and a multi-colored or two different colored solids or all one color. This yarn is readily available at local yarn stores. ***Important–Do not bring any other type of yarn for this project. You may also want to bring along:  lunch/snacks/drinks, pillow for the loom bench, pocket folder or notebook, page protector sheets, scissors, pencil/pen, tape measure.

Class Description: In this fast-paced 2-day class, students will learn how floor looms are set up and discover the wonder of creating their own cloth. The instructor will guide students through all the basic steps of weaving from preparing a warp and dressing a loom to reading a weaving draft and finally, weaving their scarf. Students will purchase yarn as directed in the supplies list and leave class with a woven scarf. (Final finishing of the scarf will be done at home.)


Mosaic Mural Making

 

Instructor: Jennifer Kuhns
Dates: Saturday and Sunday, Oct 6 and 7
Time: 10 am – 5 pm
Cost: $120
Registration Deadline: Oct 1
No. of Students: Min. 5 max. 10
Skill Level: Adult Beginner

This is an intermediate to advanced level workshop involving hands-on instruction for fabricating mosaic wall murals. Students will work as a team to create a 5’ x 9’ mosaic triptych with stained glass and other materials on a tile backerboard, which will be installed at the Arbutus Folk School The instructor will provide all tools and materials needed. A lecture and handouts will be included on substrates, preparing a wall, tools and materials, as well as handouts to take home.
Some of the mural work will have been done prior to the workshop by the instructor, and also during a community event. There will still be a lot to learn and accomplish during the class in order to complete such a large project. Students will leave with introductory skills to create interior architectural mosaic such as backsplashes and fireplace surrounds.
The Arbutus Folk School is waiving their portion of the fee, as we are the recipient of the mural and it will become a donor recognition wall to commemorate our 5th Anniversary. We are also relying on anticipated sponsorship funding to help support this effort. Therefore, we are able to offer the workshop for a special low rate: $120.

 


Ceramics Handbuilding – Beginner to Advanced

Instructor: Sarah Farley
Dates: Saturday mornings, Oct 6 through Nov 10
Time: 10 am – 1 pm
Cost: $271
Registration Deadline: Oct 3
No. of Students: Min. 4, max. 8
Skill Level: Beginner and beyond

Learn the basics of clay handbuilding and clay sculpture by making a clay sculpture or functional pottery for your home! This class is great for people who are new to clay or anyone who wants more experience with handbuilding. Students will learn the three basic handbuilding techniques of coil, slab and pinching while making one to several pieces depending on their size and complexity. The class will include demos of basic techniques, idea development and workshopping challenges as they arise. Students are not restricted to the instructor’s project; all handbuilding ideas are welcome and students can come with project ideas and work with the instructor to achieve them in the given time frame of the class.

 


Introduction to Blacksmithing

Instructor:  Kelly Rigg
Date: October 6, November 17, January 12, February 9, March 16, April 13, May 4, June 8; each day is a separate workshop
Time:  10 am – 4 pm
Cost: 
 : $150
Registration closes: 1 week prior to class
No. of Students: 
min. 6, max. 6
Skill level: 
Beginner
Materials provided by student: Durable, close-toed shoes, long pants

Please note, students must be 18 years or older for all blacksmithing classes.

Class Description: This is an introduction to blacksmith class.  Students will make nails, decorative leaves or BBQ skewers to take home. Students will be introduced to tools and basic techniques.  This class will provide the experience needed for more advanced upcoming classes, such as Forge Building, Hand-Forged Hardware, Tool Making, Chest Hardware, Open-Project Forge, and Traditional Joinery. Students who have already taken the class are welcome and can work on previous projects or select from a few more advanced projects.

NOTE: Blacksmithing classes are now being held at Kelly’s studio.  The address is 6305 Rich Rd. SE, Unit C, Olympia, WA 98501. Click here to open location in Google Maps:https://goo.gl/maps/zkjq9giZWgq (Yelm Highway to Rich Rd SE, 3/4 Mile (or so) on right hand side to “Arts Park” main entrance. Look for the “Studio 23” sign above the studio entrance.) Please bring a lunch or drive to food services nearby. The studio contact is kelly@olymetal.com. For enrollment questions, contact Arbutus at info@arbutusfolkschool.org.

 


Youth Pottery Class – Ages 9-14

Instructor: Meghan Hopkins
Dates: Friday Afternoons, Oct 12 – Nov 16
Time: 3:45-5:45
Cost: $187
Registration Deadline: Oct 3
No. of Students: Min. 4, max. 8
Skill Level: Beginner

Class Description: This class is intended to introduce the beginner to basics of clay work and to allow the more experienced student to practice both hand building and wheel throwing techniques. With a primary focus on vessels, there is a lot of room for creativity. Mindfulness exercises will be incorporated into the instruction. Students must be able to follow complex directions and focus on their work. Ages 9 to 14 years old 

 


Play with Clay: Votive Holders

Instructor: Nicole Gugliotti
Dates: Oct 12 & 26
Times: 6:00-8:00 pm
Cost: $49
Registration Closes: Oct 9
No. of Students: Min. 4, Max. 10
Skill Level: Beginner

We will decorate our votive holders with cut outs, add-ons and more!
Each month from 6 pm -8 pm, Arbutus offers an informal 2 hour “Play with Clay” class. Usually it falls on the 1st & 3rd Friday but due to Arts Walk, October’s offering falls on the 2nd and 4th Friday. There will always be a guided theme project. However, experienced students are encouraged to design their own projects, working with the instructor to tailor the project to this short timeline. Students will glaze and fire their projects at the second class. $49 class fee includes clay, glaze and firing. This class is intended for adults. Beer and wine are available for purchase.

 


Basic Woodturning

 

Instructor:  Larry Miller
Date: October 13, November 10, December 8
Time:  8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Cost: 
 : $155
Registration closes: 3 days prior to class
No. of Students: 
min. 3 max 5
Skill level: 
Beginner
Materials provided by student: None needed, may bring turning tools and safety gear or use instructors

Class Description: Class will cover basic lathe operation, safety, proper use of lathe tools, tool sharpening, how to prepare wood for turning, mounting techniques, and finishing.  This is a hands on class where students will turn either a wooden carving mallet, a spurtle (wooden Scottish kitchen tool, dating from the fifteenth century, that is used to stir porridge, soups, stews and broths), or a garden dibble (helps plant bulbs, seeds, or transplants at the proper depth) in the morning and a small bowl in the afternoon, both of which they’ll take home after the class. For students interested in acquiring their own lathe or tools, the instructor will provide them with a catalog and go over different lathe options and tips on how to acquire equipment at reduced costs .

NOTE: this class takes place at Larry’s shop, not at Arbutus.  Location: 4621 John Luhr Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98516 (map: https://goo.gl/maps/PV7wC

 


Build a Ukulele!

Instructor:  Michael Dresdner
Dates:  Saturday mornings, Oct 13 – Dec 8 (skips November 24)
Time:  9 am – noon
Cost: 
$386
Registration closes: September 28
No. of Students: 
min. 6, max. 6
Skill level: 
Beginner

Class Description: You’ll get to bend the wood for the rim, brace the top and back, carve the neck, install frets in the fingerboard, cut the nut and its string slots, set the saddle, install the tuners, and using traditional hide glue, assemble all the parts into a beautiful, playable instrument. We’ll even learn how to string it, adjust the action, and tune it up. Class is open to six students, preferably with some knowledge of how wood behaves, and some experience with both power and hand tools.
Slotting the fingerboards and cutting the uke side-pieces will not be made during the class time due to equipment limitations. The instructor will be making them prior to the start of class at his shop in Puyallup. If anyone is interested in volunteering to assist the instructor to prep these materials let us know.

If a student misses any days, someone in the class will compete that days task to keep all projects on the same schedule.

 


Spinning from the Beginning

 

Instructor: Emily Gray
Dates: Saturdays, Oct. 13, 20, & 27
Times: 1:00-3:30 pm
Cost: $130
Registration Closes: October 9
No. of Students: Min. 3, Max. 10
Skill Level: Beginner
Materials Provided by Student: Drop Spindle

Class Description: Whether you’d like to learn spinning basics for that wheel you found, or you’d like to spin on the go with a portable spindle, Spinning from the Beginning will introduce you to the basic techniques of spinning fiber.  We will learn on drop spindles; the skills you develop will carry you from spindle to wheel and back again.  If you already have a spindle, bring it!  If not, please purchase a spindle prior to class.  We recommend any of the spindles available through Paradise Fibers in Spokane (here and here) or the beginning spindles through Pacific Wool and Fiber (here).  A good beginning spindle needn’t cost more than $15 – $20.

In addition to spinning, we will explore types of fiber and preparations, and welcome guests from the Olympia fiber community.  As a participant, you will take home fiber each week to practice between classes.  By the end of this interactive class, you will have spun and plied your own yarn, have an introduction to the fiber resources in our area, and have a solid understanding of spinning fundamentals.

*Please note: Spinning from the Beginning is a prerequisite for The Wheel Deal: Making Yarn on a Spinning Wheel.


Wheel Throwing – Beginner to Advanced

Instructors: Mike Cummins
Dates: Thursday eves Nov 1 – Dec 13 (skips Nov 22 for Thanksgiving)
Times: 6-9 pm
Cost: $280
Registration Closes: Sept 29
No. of Students: Min. 5, Max. 8
Skill Level: Beginner to advanced

Class Description: I believe that throwing clay on a potter’s wheel is a beautiful practical science rather than an art. I also believe that pottery is a moving meditation with creative and functional benefits.  Please join me to explore these ideas on the wheel!  In this beginner through advanced pottery class, my aim is to help each student understand and master the physics of clay on the wheel.  Together we will discover the effects of momentum, water and pressure on clay bodies.  Each student will develop and strengthen their ability to center and throw clay in the 1-3 pound range. We will also focus on drying, trimming and finishing techniques with an emphasis on similitude and smoothness. We will glaze our works with similar motivations. I am sure you will complete this class with your best ceramic work and artistic mindset.

 


Ceramic Art Tiles

Instructors: Mike Cummins
Dates: Tuesday evenings, Nov 6 – Dec 11
Times: 6-9 pm
Cost: $283
Registration Closes: Nov 4
No. of Students: Min. 4, Max. 10
Skill Level: All levels

Class Description: Make some awesome art for your favorite person! Or a stepping stone for your garden! Everyone that takes this class makes something awesome! In this class students will create an 18″ x 18″ image using their own handmade ceramic tiles. They will learn the complete process of making art tiles that I use for my large projects. We will explore how our use of line, size, texture and surface designs work to create visually interesting tile art and will learn the correct timing and organization for applying the techniques to clay. Alongside learning shape and color composition, multiple glazing & underglazing techniques, slab rolling, and grouting, students will also learn how to kiln fire tiles to achieve minimal warping. This is a great class for beginners and advanced ceramic students alike! The projects in this class make great hanging art pieces or stepping stones. If you have other ideas for using your finished piece, the instructor encourages you to come to class with those and he will work with you to achieve your idea in the given time frame of the class.

Thanks and hope to see you there! Suggested homework – Go check out my newest public project in Tumwater at Deschutes Valley Park, T street and Whitehawk Lane.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/600+T+St+SE,+Tumwater,+WA+98501/@46.9962712,-122.8993078,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x5491738a63b7a1ed:0x1941891c48901dc0!8m2!3d46.9962712!4d-122.8971191

 


Ceramic Bust Portraiture

Instructor: Joelle Montez
Dates: Wednesday eves, Nov 7-Dec 19
Times: 6-9 pm
Cost: $314
Registration Closes: 6 days before class
No. of Students: Min. 4, Max. 8

Class Description: In this course we will explore the art of portraiture in clay. Sculpting in clay is a very forgiving and exciting way to work in the 3rd dimension, and a great introduction to making representational art. Each student will make a bust from photographic references, choosing their own model and taking photos themselves, or choosing from professional stock photos. We will learn to lay out facial features using proportion, covering techniques for realistic and gestural representation. Each student will learn the processes of working with ceramic materials from wet clay to fired bisque-ware, finishing with multimedia surfacing techniques. No experience with clay or sculpting is needed; all levels are welcome and encouraged! The more varied the artists the more we will learn from each other.

 


Warp a Floor Loom; Weave a Scarf

Instructor:  Marjorie Erickson
Date:  2-day weekend workshop: November 17 & 18
Time:  8:30 am – 4:30 pm 
Cost: 
$226
Registration closes: Two weeks before 1st day of class
No. of Students: 
min. 3 max 5
Skill level: 
Beginner
Materials provided by student: Sock yarn-Look for yarn that is around 420m/100g or 460 yds/3.5 oz. This weight yarn may also be called fingering weight or sport weight. You will need a total of 800 yards— 400 yards for the warp and slightly less than that for the weft. Choose a solid and a multi-colored or two different colored solids or all one color. This yarn is readily available at local yarn stores. ***Important–Do not bring any other type of yarn for this project. You may also want to bring along:  lunch/snacks/drinks, pillow for the loom bench, pocket folder or notebook, page protector sheets, scissors, pencil/pen, tape measure.

Class Description: In this fast-paced 2-day class, students will learn how floor looms are set up and discover the wonder of creating their own cloth. The instructor will guide students through all the basic steps of weaving from preparing a warp and dressing a loom to reading a weaving draft and finally, weaving their scarf. Students will purchase yarn as directed in the supplies list and leave class with a woven scarf. (Final finishing of the scarf will be done at home.)

 


Handbuilding Clay Gifts

Instructor: Sarah Farley
Dates: Saturday Mornings Dec 1 – 15
Times: 10 am to 1 pm
Cost: $141
Registration Closes: 3 days before class
No. of Students: Min. 4, Max. 8

Class Description: Learn the basics of clay handbuilding by making beautiful handmade gifts for your friends and family (or yourself)! No prior experience necessary, a short demo will include bud vases, ornaments and planters. Students will have two 3-hour sessions to build one to several projects depending on their complexity and will spend the last session glazing. Finished pieces can be picked up the following week during open studio hours. All handbuilding ideas are welcome and students can come with project ideas and work with the instructor to achieve them in the given time frame of the class.

 


Weaving a Rag Rug

Instructor:  Marjorie Erickson
Date:  2-day weekend workshop: December 8 & 9
Time:  9 am – 4 pm 
Cost: 
$206
Registration closes: Two weeks before 1st day of class
No. of Students: 
min. 3 max 5
Skill level: 
Beginner
Materials provided by student: Students will bring  CLEAN, freshly laundered, unwrinkled clothing to be cut into strips for weaving–please see class description for further guidance, sharp scissors, Rotarty cutter and cutting mat if available, lunch/snacks/drinks, cushion to sit on loom benches

Class Description: One of the most useful and historically the most common ways of recycling used clothing is to weave rag rugs with it. Sturdy rugs to cover our floors and decorate our homes. This class is designed so that students can recycle some of the clothing they haven’t quite been able to give away. Day one will have us preparing for weaving on Day two. We’ll cut our “saved” clothing into strips, roll them into balls and get ourselves ready to weave our rag rugs. Students will bring CLEAN, freshly laundered and unwrinkled clothes, ready to be cut up. These can be blue jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts, dresses, shirts, pajamas, etc. They just need to be ALL the same kind of fabric. If using jeans, it all has to be jean-type cloth. If using finer cloth (like shirt/blouse/dress fabric), it all has to be finer cloth. The same with T-shirts. It all has to be T-shirt type cloth. How much?? Pants–4-5, Shirts–7-10. Day two will be dedicated to weaving our fabulous rag rugs.