My friends are a creative bunch—knitters, beaders, amateur photographers, backyard woodworkers. They’d all love to expand their skills. But not one of them knows anything about craft schools. What’s going on here?
Getting Your Craft On
Craft schools rocked my world: I love nothing more than escaping to one for a week or a weekend and honing my skills. I came to art late-ish in life: In my 40s, I learned how to knit and fell head-over-heels with all things yarny. Then I stumbled across a fiber-arts class at a local craft school—and everything changed. Studying at craft schools—Peters Valley in New Jersey, Snow Farm in Massachusetts, Penland in North Carolina—gave me the skills and confidence I needed to put myself out there as a “real” artist. Today my handmade baskets and wall art sell in lovely galleries. Who knew?
Studying at craft schools gave me the skills and confidence I needed to put myself out there as a ‘real’ artist.
Across the country, craft schools offer something for everyone, regardless of skill level. They’re a safe and welcoming space for beginners as well as a challenging environment for more advanced students. Whether for one day, a weekend, or a full week, classes are offered in all kinds of pursuits—ceramics, fiber arts, glassblowing, jewelry making, blacksmithing, photography and more—led by rock-star artisans.
In my experience, the lodging is cozy, the food served ranges from good to outstanding, and scenery can be beautiful or absolutely jaw-dropping. Another bonus: Craft schools are the ultimate stress-free experience for solo travelers. Enter the studio, and you’ve made instant friends: women over 50 make up a large proportion of classes. I can’t think of a better way to discover hidden talents and nurture your inner artist. Come play! Check out The Craft School Experience and the American Craft Council’s directory for all the details.
Amy Sunshine is a New Jersey-based writer and artist. Her work can be viewed at www.amysunshinedesigns.com.