Enrich the resiliency and vibrancy of individuals and communities through joyful learning, creative cultural expression, and appreciation of folklife

Greetings Arbutus Community:

Our organization is working hard to respond to this COVID-19 crisis.  We are rescheduling all spring classes and will address summer as that time nears. The facility is currently closed and staff are working remotely. The best way to reach us is by email: info@arbutusfolkschool.org.  We have updated our cancellation policy.

We have developed virtual connections to artists! Check out our new YouTube channel! Watch our homepage, newsletter and social media posts for upcoming events.

We are gratefully requesting donations to help ensure we come through this time as strong as possible!

We plan to begin offering classes again as soon as we safely can!

In love and good health,
Stacey and the Arbutus Staff

Free Artist Talks, Studio Tours and Demos!

We are beyond excited to present FREE artist talks, studio tours, and craft demos with our talented instructors! Join us to get your craft fix. Each of these presentations are free and will include a Q&A session.

Below is the schedule with links for the live presentations.

Recordings from past videos may be viewed on the Arbutus Folk School YouTube channel.

Bookkeeping for Artists & Other Small Businesses with Candace Wood

Thinking of starting a business with your art or already run a business but want to spruce up your books? Candace Wood, an Olympia based CPA, will be answering all your small business bookkeeping and tax questions in this two-part series. The first session will focus on bookkeeping. Good bookkeeping provides insight to your profit margins and allows you to confidently file your taxes. The second session will focus on taxes.
There is no charge for these invaluable presentations. Please join us on Zoom May 29th at 2 pm and June 19th at 2 pm. Come with your tax questions or email them in in advance to info@arbutusfolkschool.org. Links can also be found on our Instagram profile a couple hours before they start.

May 29th Part 1: https://zoom.us/j/97785877992
June 19th Part 2: https://zoom.us/j/93460323729

Studio Tour and Metalsmithing Demo with Pamela Davis

Join us on Wednesday June 3rd at 2 pm for a metalsmithing demo with Pamela Davis of MuchoDesign. She will give a quick tour of her home studio and show us what goes into creating a sterling silver ring with a bezel set stone.

June 3rd at 2:00 pm: https://zoom.us/j/95961639053

Monday June 8th, 6:45 pm: Virtual Open Mic

Find links and all event details on our Open Mic page.  Recordings of our past events are posted on our Video Channel.

What’s New at Arbutus?

Arbutus Executive Director Position Open

We, the Board of Directors, are aware of the significant changes befalling us all as the COVID-19 crisis unfolds. We had been planning to seek a new Executive Director since January and decided to cautiously continue to move forward. We will be flexible in regard to timelines, interviews, etc.  Our goal is really only to come out of this difficult time with Arbutus as strong as possible, balanced, and ready to grow.  The position will be open until filled.

ED Position Announcement can be found here.

Ceramic Artist in Residence Position Open

Arbutus Organizes Local Makers to Provide Personal Protective Equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic has depleted worldwide supplies of essential Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that keep our healthcare workers and first responders safe. They are on the front lines, putting themselves at risk to keep us safe. The PPE is desperately needed to ensure they can continue to treat and protect us.

The Arbutus Folk School, Lacey Makerspace and South Salish Mighty Masks have joined forces to unite the maker community and make an impact. We are thankful for the many volunteers that are in their homes selflessly sewing, 3D printing, and assembling kits to give to those battling COVID-19.

What We Are Doing

We’re joining together as a community of volunteers and donors making PPE for those who need it most in Thurston County and beyond:

  • Healthcare Workers who need 3D-printed face shields
  • First Responders who need face masks with filters
  • Frontline Organizations and Workers who need cloth masks

For information on ways to get involved, donate or request assistance, see the Lacey Makerspace PPE Response page.


The Olympian: https://www.theolympian.com/news/coronavirus/article241848631.html

Thurston Talk: https://www.thurstontalk.com/2020/04/08/how-to-get-involved-with-the-face-mask-making-effort-at-the-lacey-makerspace/

KIRO 7: https://www.kiro7.com/news/local/3d-printers-build-face-shields-hospital-workers/QL6LNGARXVBJXB6GWQZ6FJ424U/

TC Media: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn8xzOVCxFU&feature=youtu.be

Arbutus Art Auction

Save the Date! Our 2nd Annual Art Auction will take place on Saturday, Oct 17th. Details about donating art or experiences or sponsoring the event can be found at the Learn More link below.

COVID 19 update: This event will still take place, but we may decide to make it a virtual event. Please still keep the date and know we are still accepting artwork donations.

Plum St Village Final 1

Plum St. Village Mosaic

The mosaic has been finished and installed! The goal of this project was to create an opportunity for members of the tiny home community, surrounding businesses and neighbors, and the general Olympia community to get to know each other while creating a public art project for Village residence. Participants created an incredible array of unique work, as each individual house was lovingly created and then purposefully incorporated into the larger mosaic.  The finished mosaic is roughly 3 ft x 5 ft, arranged by Jennifer Kuhns of JK Mosaics. The piece has been donated to the Low Income Housing Institute and is installed permanently in the Plum St. Village.  Additional information about the Plum St Village can be found here.   The Arbutus Folk School thanks the City of Olympia’s Grants to Arts Organizations funding for this project.

Leading From the Roots

Arbutus Folk School Project Examines Economic Impact of Rural Arts, Culture and Heritage

Olympia, WA —Arbutus Folk School, in partnership with Fielding Graduate University and Highlander Research and Education Center, has received a federal grant to engage local artisans, craftspeople, and tradition bearers in a study of economic vitality and resiliency through arts, culture, and heritage-based activities.  The “Leading from the Roots” project will investigate how local arts, culture and heritage practices can help develop economic vitality and improve resiliency in rural communities.

Artists in Residence

Ceramics: Claire Muehleisen


Francis Fong

Olympia Woodworkers Guild

The Olympia Woodworkers Guild is a program of the Arbutus Folk School, dedicated to fostering a community of woodworkers.

The Olympia Woodworker Guild meets the 4th Monday of each month at Arbutus Folk School. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the meeting starts at 7:00 pm. Guests and families are welcome.

Check the OWG page here for the current month’s program and events.

Remembering Marjorie Erickson

Arbutus lost our dear friend Marjorie on Tue, Feb. 25 after a short illness with cancer. Marjorie built our weaving studio over countless hours and along the way, became an endearing friend to all of us. We will be naming the studio “Marjorie’s Loft”.  Our volunteers are working on an idea to commemorate her.

Before Marjorie came along, we thought we would not be able to offer floor loom weaving. We had the idea we’d like to offer it, but we had no looms and no one who knew how to weave! Somehow word traveled to Marjorie and she introduced herself to us. She put the word out to her vast, mysterious network of weavers that we were looking for looms and they just started pouring in.

These machines are really big and really complicated. She (with a lot of help from her husband Frank!) vetted every donation, and thoroughly overhauled every one of them.  When the weaving loft was as full as it could possibly be, she decided which ones we needed to ‘trade up’ when better looms were donated. She sold the old ones and gave me the checks to put toward the weaving equipment or toward the school’s endless general needs.

She really built our studio – we could never have done it without her, and we don’t think anyone else would have done what she did to get this studio functional. We have 8 wonderful looms now, which is the perfect size for teaching.

Weaving Loft

Marjorie’s Loft

She was a deep well of technical knowledge about the looms, the fibers and weaving techniques. She was also a beloved, passionate, generous and supportive teacher. She was a gateway to learning for many students who felt welcomed into the vast world of fiber arts.

We will always be grateful that she got us to a functional state and built up our program. But even more, we are grateful for her friendship. I love, love, love that little sly smile when she was up to something!

Here is Marjorie’s bio from our website:

Marjorie Erikson has been weaving cloth on a variety of floor looms for over 25 years. She has taught private lessons in her home for at least 20 years and now teaches Beginning Weaving for the Olympia Weavers Guild. Her work has been shown in Galleries in WA, OR, CO, CA and WI. It has also been published in Handwoven Magazine and Shuttle, Spindle and Dyepot. She holds awards from the Handweavers Guild of America, Handwoven Magazine, Association of Northwest Weavers and WA State Fair. Continuing to learn new weaving techniques and passing along her knowledge of weaving is of utmost importance to her.

We miss her so much and love her like crazy! She has been such a gift to us and the weaving community! Our heart is with her husband Frank.

-Stacey Waterman-Hoey, Arbutus Executive Director

© Arbutus Folk School