Craft Travel: Crafty Schools
Craft schools combine the fun of being a kid at camp making cool things with many of the amenities associated with resorts and country retreats. There are several craft schools across the US, offering you the opportunity to relax in a rural setting while learning a new craft or honing your skills at an activity you’ve practiced for years. Here are just a couple of the many craft schools across the country:
In the highland region of western North Carolina, only an hour from Ashville, you’ll find the 340-acre campus of the John C. Campbell Folk School. Most of the focus here is on traditional crafts, particularly those connected with Appalachian culture. Class offerings include basketry, beading, blacksmithing, broom making, soap making, lace, quilting, doll making, stained glass and spinning (with yarn, not on a stationary bicycle!). If you have a hidden performer inside you aching to get out, try a class in dancing, storytelling or music (some of the instruments taught here are so traditional as to be downright exotic: hammered dulcimer, musical saw and autoharp). Class length varies from a weekend to a week, with courses available year-round. Class participants can choose from dorm-style or private rooms; the dining hall serves 3 meals a day, including vegetarian options.
The North House Folk School emphasizes skills related to its North Country location. Here you can learn Anishinabee-style moccasin making and beading or the Scandinavian textile art of nålbinding or sew a Saami-inspired hat. Basketry and knitting classes are also offered. The school has a strong emphasis on wood crafts: you can take a course in boat building, wood carving and woodworking. In Outdoors and nature programs are also available: snowshoe construction; winter camping, bow and arrow making as well as classes in birding, geology and wildflowers. Students arrange their own accommodations and meals here; the location along Lake Superior offers opportunities for camping as well as a nearby B&B.