Click here for currently offered classes

The core subject areas offered in the school are wood crafts, ceramics, music, fiber arts, metal arts, stone carving and living arts.  The topics below are areas we envision expanding into.

Wood Arts (Fine, Folk and Handywork)

  • Wood turning
  • Furniture craft800px-Woodturning-33-Bowl-gje
  • Tool craft and care
  • Traditional home/shelter building techniques
    • Log construction
    • Cob construction
    • Timberframe construction
    • Architectural preservation
  • Wood carving
  • Boat building


  • Weaving
  • Basketry
  • Sewing
  • Quilting
  • Knitting
  • Felting
  • Tatting
  • Natural dye
  • Spinning
  • Additional fiber arts


  • Sculpting
  • Wheel throwing
  • Hand-Building
  • Glaze formulation
  • Using kilns
  • Advance technique workshops

MusicOlyOldTime dance

  • Acoustic folk music
  • Traditional music
  • Folk dance
  • Music festivals
  • Making and repairing traditional instruments
    • Lutherie

Native Art and Craftsalish basket

  • Storytelling and folklore
  • Wood working/carving
  • Music
  • Dance
  • Weaving
  • Basketry
  • Foraging, food preparation and preservation
  • Other traditional arts and cultural activities

Blacksmithing/Metal Arts

Blacksmiths shop

  • Basic blacksmithing skills
  • Tool making/repair
  • Sculpting/art
  • Silversmithing
  • Other metal arts

Leather craft

Stone craft

Outdoor Skills/Ecology birdwatching

  • Orienteering
  • Foraging
  • Bird watching
  • Native plant identification
  • Hunting/fishing/seafood gathering
  • Outdoor skills/safety
  • Ethnobotany
  • Making bow and arrows
  • Knife making

Animal husbandryeggs

  • Chickens
  • Dairy and Beef cows
  • Pigs
  • Rabbits

Agriculture and Food strawberries

  • Gardening
  • Food preservation and storage
  • Cooking
  • Fermentation
  • Small scale food business development
  • Micro-farming
  • Food processing
  • Seed saving
  • Beekeeping
  • Wine/beer making
  • Cheesemakinghome-canned-veg

History/Arts and Crafts

  • Storytelling
  • Nature photography
  • Jewelry making
  • Film making, Film Festival

Books, Paper, Writing and Printing

  • Book Arts
  • Paper making
  • Writer’s workshops
  • Letterpress and printing


  • Traditional medicine
  • Natural body care


  • Homesteading/sustainable living
  • Home and community energy

Business Development

  • Building a business around your craft
  • Growing the craft-based economy
  • Rural economic development

See our Calendar page for upcoming schedule of classes

Additional Activities

The following is an outline of programs and additional activities we are pursuing funding to offer.


The Arbutus Folk School has a small store where students, teachers and local crafters can sell the products of their work. Tools and supplies needed for classes will also be available for purchase by students and the public. We are seeking funding for a part time retail manager.

The school currently sells a variety of species of locally harvested and milled lumber for class and public purchase.  This lumber is FSC certified (a sustainability certification label)  and is available in dimensional and character grades. See Retail page for details.

Special Events

girls dancing

The school would like to host seasonal celebrations including a Harvest Festival, Winter Festival and a Summer Festival.  The school currently presents concerts and the Olympia Old Time Music Festival.

Historical Center

Arbutus Folk School is seeking funding and partnerships to open a Puget Sound Craft Heritage Center to identify, protect and promote the Northwest’s craft traditions.   The Historical Center will work to identify and preserve knowledge and skills unique to living in the Pacific Northwest.

Community Collaboration

The school intends to create and maintain a strong connection with the local community and the community of crafters and artists.  We always welcome ideas about classes to teach and welcome connections to great teachers and craft leaders.   This collaboration with the learning community is critical to our vision of listening to and being guided by your interests.

Intergenerational LearningMag and Fred

The school is deeply interested in fostering intergenerational learning.  Many of the skills and methods taught at the school were part of every-day living for many elders in our community.  We deeply value this community and hope to create a network of elders to teach classes and mentor students.  The school also plans to create special events specifically for grandparents and grandchildren to participate together.

The school offers summer day camps and after school camps which would combine physical activity with introductions to a variety of skill development activities such as sewing, cooking, gardening, simple woodworking, storytelling etc.

International Cultural Exchange Program

As our school grows, we would like to host international teacher exchanges.  This program would invite international folk artists and traditional skills instructors to come to our school and offer classes in their craft.  Teachers from our school may also be sponsored to visit other regions of the U.S. and the world to advance their knowledge and improve their ability to teach our local students.

Programs for Groups

The school can provide a unique group experience for organizations, religious groups or families interested in designing their own program.

About Us