Olympia offers a variety of places where you can take classes to learn knitting, painting, ceramics, and more. Visit Arbutus Folk School, Painted Plate, Black Sheep Yarn Boutique or Painted Palace to gain a skill that you can turn into lovely holiday gifts.
1. Arbutus Folk School
Arbutus Folk School offers a variety of classes throughout the year. Focus on finding your creative roots and taking a step back from your fast-paced life to slow down and make something beautiful.
Unique bowls, mugs, and vases make great gifts, especially if they’re hand made. Learn the basics of ceramics or improve your technique on the first and third Friday evenings of each month at Play with Clay. This is an informal two hour long class. There is a guided theme project, although students are encouraged to work on their own personal projects as well. Students will glaze and fire their projects during the second class.
“It’s important for people to reconnect with their creativity,” said Stacey Waterman-Hoey, director, Arbutus Folk School. She also said that the act of generosity when giving something to someone that we put time and energy into is so valuable and is something that we should put more focus on.
“When you buy a gift, the value is the price, but when it’s handmade, the value is detached from that. It’s the effort, creative energy, and the time that someone put into the gift instead,” Waterman-Hoey explained.
Waterman-Hoey is excited about many upcoming classes, including the popular blacksmithing class, and a women’s woodworking class. She recommends beginners try a ceramics class. “All of the ceramics instructors are wonderful people,” she said.
2. Painted Plate
If crafts are a bit daunting to you, the Painted Plate might be a good place to start. Choose from a selection of plates, mugs, bowls, or ornaments to paint. Enjoy coffee, tea, beer, wine, or a snack while you paint. Then, five days later, pick up your painted art. This is a great activity to do with friends or bring the kids and make a gift for the grandparents.
“We are super user friendly,” manager Haley Larocque said. “We have people come in every day who tell us that they’re not an artist, but they leave feeling like they are one.”
Larocque and the Painted Plate staff help each person who comes in paint something that they love. They use tricks like using contact paper, lines, stencils, or stamps.
3. Black Sheep Yarn Boutique
Always wanted to learn how to knit, but never knew where to start? Head over to Black Sheep Yarn Boutique to learn. Black Sheep Yarn Boutique welcomes all skill levels.
Owner Michelle Cohen said that lots of people come into her store who want to make gifts.
Black Sheep Yarn Boutique sells kits that include the pattern and yarn, making this a great first project. They also offer beginning classes for people who want to start knitting as well as more advanced classes. And if you can’t make it to a class? “I’m always happy to help people get started,” Cohen said.
Cohen also finds that there’s a benefit to knitting. “I’ve always had this need for a creative outlet. I find it helps me destress,” she said. And don’t get discouraged if you don’t think you’re creative. “I believe everybody has creativity inside them,” said Cohen.
4. Painted Palace
If you’ve always wanted to paint a masterpiece, try a class at the Olympia Painted Palace. Use their online calendar to find a painting class throughout the month. While you are welcome to paint anything you’d like, the Painted Palace offers instruction on a themed painting each class. Paintings range from Autumn Trees to Fireflies to Seahawks – check the calendar to see all of the different paintings they offer. Anyone you gift this painting to will be impressed with your work!
“The Painted Palace isn’t just a fun place to come and enjoy with friends and family, it’s also a great place to create one of a kind, meaningful gifts for those you love,” said Painted Palace manager Michelle O’Neill.