The Arbutus Folk School is dedicated to building a strong craft, culture and heritage arts community in the Pacific Northwest.  Our work elevates the craft economy by supporting the highest quality of instruction, increasing access to local, hand-crafted items and identifying and preserving and celebrating cultural traditions.  Wherever possible, we source materials for our classes from local, sustainable suppliers for fiber, lumber, basketry and more.

At our core, Arbutus works to empower people and communities. It may be through the joy of sharing a cultural tradition, the pride of learning to make our own useful and beautiful goods, or the richness of connecting and celebrating with others. Craft and cultural traditions have been the foundation of local societies worldwide for millennia and deserve our focused attention and support to sustain.

The roots of the word ‘manufacture’ mean ‘to make by hand.’ But the global industrial economy has largely taken manufacturing out of our hands. Today there is a great revival in reclaiming the craft traditions once common in our communities, particularly our rural communities, to design and make by hand every kind of useful and beautiful thing now largely made for us by faraway machines.

The mastery of any craft is a lifelong practice, and it entails far more than the mere accumulation and refinement of skills. The ethos of serious craftwork can summon from within us a temperament for work, attention and focus as well as humility, curiosity, patience, and responsibility.

The practice of craft commands a respect and understanding of materials, methods and tools as well as the aesthetic scope of the craft. A craftsperson will seek to deeply understand and honor tradition while developing new methods and tools to bring something unique to light and enrich the craft as a whole.

Through patient and diligent practice, the craftsperson fashions their own mind and body into refined instruments that work in concert with materials, tools and instruments to open a conduit for creative expression.

Ultimately, a master craftsperson will seek to impart to others the spirit and substance of their knowledge, in hopes of inspiring the continuation and development of their discipline. By helping to capacitate their community with new skills, and by serving as an inspiration through their own work, the craftsperson completes a circle that began with their earliest exposure to craft.