About Arbutus

About Us

Welcome to Arbutus Folk School! Our mission is to enrich lives and build community through experiential learning in arts, craft, and culture.

We are a 501(c)3 non-profit based in Olympia, Washington offering year-round classes, workshops, resources, events, and artist residencies with a focus on ceramics, music, woodworking, blacksmithing, fiber arts, glass arts, and folk & traditional arts.

Last year we offered 312 classes & workshops that engaged over 900 students in basket weaving, bookbinding, kiln-cast glass making, raku firing, and more. Click here to see highlights of the year at Arbutus Folk School.

We are working to

  • Inspire lifelong learning in a supportive environment
  • Increase access to arts, culture, and heritage experiences for our community
  • Promote intergenerational and intercultural connections
  • Support a strong creative economy

Public support is critical for us to fulfill our mission and to continue expanding access to arts and culture for all.

Student woodturning

Ceramics class

Basket weaving class

Our Classes

Depending on the subject, our 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.

All are welcome to take classes with us – there is no application, and classes are designed for all skill levels, including beginners, unless otherwise noted.

You can view our course catalog here. Click on class listings to sign up online, or call our office to enroll over the phone.

Recent students have shared this about our classes:

“I loved learning Makah traditional basketry from a Makah elder and youth. Such a wonderfully well taught class! Loved it!” 

“Loved the connection with everyone weaving together.” 

“Loved learning something I could never learn otherwise.” 

“Hands-on, great environment for someone who has never touched woodshop machines!” 

“It was really fun to do something completely different… [and] spending time with other people working together.” 

Beaded choker class

Bookbinding class

Woodworking class

Member – Folk Education Association of America