The Gift of a “Green” Arts & Crafts Learning Vacation: Year-round U.S. Pottery & Glass-Making Workshops Inspired by Nature’s Best!

Looking for a unique gift this holiday season? How about a pottery vacation at a farmhouse retreat in the Green Mountains of Vermont or at an exclusive art village tucked within the deep canyon recesses of southern Utah? Indeed, why not take your creative “do-it-yourself-at-home” arts and crafts talents this Christmas to a higher level? And spread the seasonal joy of your artistic angel wings by enrolling in the best glass-making school in America next summer? One set against the awe-inspiring Cascade Mountains of Washington state!

Yes, this year – brighten your holiday season with a “green” arts and crafts learning vacation. Below are descriptions of some of the best pottery and glass-making workshop settings in the USA. See if you can guess their unique locations.

1-Set in the Ohio River Valley next to world class golf courses, the “Oglebay Institute” features glassblowing shows, demonstrations, workshops and classes in its “Glass Museum” – one of six facilities that offers cultural tours and educational programs in the arts, nature, and history. Classes include making charms, paperweights, and hearts. Note: The “Sweeney Punch Bowl”, the largest piece of cut glass in the world is housed here. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

2- Set on a majestic island and nestled within 40 acres of quiet forest on a cliff overlooking Jericho Bay in the Atlantic Ocean, this internationally renown school – the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts – offers studio-based arts and crafts workshops ranging from beginners to advanced professionals. In addition, to glass-making and ceramics classes, there are weaving, quilting, woodworking, blacksmithing, and drawing and painting classes. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

3- Set amongst the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, the Penland School of Crafts offers a wide range of workshops in glass, clay, iron, wood, metals, drawing, photography, and textiles as well as a three-year resident artists program. Classes range from one week to two weeks to eight weeks in duration during the Spring, Summer, and Fall seasons. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

4- Set within the countryside of the Mad River Valley and tucked away between two legendary mountain resorts – Sugarbush and Mad River Glen – the quaint Wilder Farm Inn Bed and Breakfast is also home to “The Naked Potter Studio and Gallery”, a full-service studio of pottery classes and workshops where guests at the inn can get lessons on the unglazed method of firing ‘raku’ pots. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

5- Surrounded by beautiful red sandstone cliffs, the Coyote Gulch Art Village is an arts-oriented desert community of fine art shops, galleries, artist studios, and sustainable housing serving as both an art center for teaching pottery, photography, and painting classes and as a recreational retreat filled with spa services, hiking and biking trails, yoga and equestrian classes, and fine patio dining. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

6- Set amidst the dome-shaped Adirondack Mountains, in the southern Adirondack Park of over 6 million acres of protected land, the Adirondack Folk School “is the only school of its kind in the country dedicated to teaching the arts, crafts and culture of this unique Adirondack region”. Its year-round classes of 200+ range from half-day sessions to full week-long courses. The variety of classes is simply dazzling and include fly tying, jewelry making, organic gardening, papermaking, birch bark basketry, marquetry, floral arts, fiber arts, needlecraft arts, beadwork, blacksmithing, tinsmithing, woodworking, rug hooking and braiding, chair building and caning, soap making, paddle making, and pottery. The school itself is housed in an historic building that has been recycled thru the decades from its beginnings in the 1930’s as a lodge, then an elementary school in the 40’s and 50’s and then a town hall. Behind the school between the woods and the Hudson River is an outdoor amphitheater and tables for outdoor classes. Gift certificates are available and make great presents. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

7- Set just a few minutes away from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on a 14-acre wooded hillside, the 100-year-old Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts offers students a wide range of weekend workshops and one to two week courses for the beginner to the advanced artist from March through November. Taught by nationally and internationally renown instructors in professionally equipped studios, classes are offered in glass-making, ceramics, metals, woodturning, woodworking, painting, drawing, books and paper as well as photography and mixed media. Scholarships are in place that cover 50% to 100% of workshop fees, housing, and meals. Along with the school’s five galleries, the Artist Outfitters Store supplies students on campus and artists in the community year-round with craft materials, tools, and art-related books as well as a selection of artwork from past Artists-in-Residence. In addition to acting as a cultural education center in the surrounding community, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is home to a host of annual art conferences and symposia. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

8- Founded in 1971 and set on 54 acres in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains on a former tree farm with views of Puget Sound, the Pilchuck Glass School is the premier glass art education center in the world! Each year a series of courses in a variety of glass-working processes are offered to artists of all skill levels from May thru September. Workshops include glass blowing, hot-glass sculpting, sandcasting, kiln casting, fusing, coldworking, flameworking, glass painting, mixed-media sculpture, neon, painting with enamels and stained glass. Studio buildings, cabins, cottages, and school store, library, dormitory, and dining hall are all made of native materials in the Pacific Northwest architectural style. Scholarship residencies for both emerging and established artists are given during the Spring and Fall. NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

9- Set in a valley surrounded by the eastern Ozark Mountains, the Ozark Folk Center is a nationally renown showpiece of living Ozark heritage featuring American folk music and workshops in pioneer crafts and herb gardening. Classes include pottery, corn shuckery (creating artwork with corn shucks), gunsmithing, harness weaving, broom making, mandolin making, reed basket making, soapmaking, knifemaking, glass beadmaking, blacksmithing, and tinsmithing. Musical events and daily concerts offer the old-time sounds of mandolins, banjos, fiddles, dulcimers, and autoharps whilst the surrounding landscape provides special hiking and biking trails and cavern tours.  NAME THE LOCATION – CITY AND STATE.

Answers: (1) Wheeling, West Virginia (2) Deer Isle, Maine (3) Spruce Pine, North Carolina (4) Waitsfield, Vermont (5) Ivins, Utah (6) Lake Luzerne, New York (7) Gatlinburg, Tennessee (8) Stanwood, Washington  (9) Mountain View, Arkansas


Have you any green ideas, insights, experiences of your own to add or share?