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

COVID Safety Plan Update to the Arbutus Community

We are cautiously and safely reopening some activities at Arbutus.  Please see our entire COVID Safety Plan at this link.  We will be reaching out to students with credits from interrupted classes before we open class enrollment to the public.  We deeply appreciate the community’s patience and support in this incredibly difficult time. We are very confident in our reopening plan and are thrilled to reconnect with you soon!

Like all arts and culture organizations, Arbutus has been deeply hurt by the economic impact of closing.  We still hold hope that recovery is possible, but it will be a very difficult challenge for our tiny organization.  We need the support of the community now more than ever.  Please consider making a donation if you are able. 

In love and good health,
Stacey and the Arbutus Staff

Arbutus Welcomes New Director Hillary Tully

Hillary Tully bio pic

Hillary is a writer and folklorist originally from Tallahassee, Florida. She brings experience in arts administration, communications, and education and she holds a Master’s in Folklore from the University of Oregon. With a love of folklife and a passion for supporting local arts and artists, she is excited to join Arbutus and carry forward its mission.

Hillary will be relocating to Olympia from Eugene, Oregon where she has been working in development and communications for the Lane County Arts Council. She will begin at Arbutus on October 1st.

Founding Director Stacey Waterman-Hoey will remain available to support Hillary during the transition, then will take a break before continuing to work on ongoing projects.

Leading From the Roots: Arts, Culture and Heritage Survey and Directory

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

Olympia, WA —Arbutus Folk School is conducting research to engage local artisans, craftspeople, and tradition bearers in a study of economic vitality and resiliency through arts, culture, and heritage-based activities.  The project is investigating how local arts, culture and heritage practices can help develop economic vitality and improve resiliency in all communities, but in particular, for rural communities.

We are seeking responses to a survey and creating an optional public directory.  Please see this page for survey and directory links as well as additional information.

November Zoom Open Mic

Find event details on our Open Mic page.

Recordings of our past events are posted on our Video Channel.

What’s New at Arbutus?

Welcome Ceramic Studio Lead Joelle Montez and Ceramic Artist in Residence August Davis!

We are thrilled to announce our new Ceramic Studio Lead Joelle Montez and our new AIR August Davis! Joelle has been a long-time contributor to the ceramic studio at Arbutus. She is also the Ceramic Studio Technician at The Evergreen State College. August worked as a studio aid with Joelle so the two are bringing their excellent partnership to the studios at Arbutus. Welcome aboard!

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.


Plum St Village Final 1

Plum St. Village Mosaic

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.

Ceramics: August Davis


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