You know who they are: the people in your life who have everything. The ones who are impossible to shop for during the holidays, the ones who don’t need another sweater, figurine or gift card.
What they may not have – and would be surprised and delighted to receive – is a trip to a beautiful mountain town to learn anything from a centuries-old craft to a new technology.
Jim Crowell, a master smith knifemaker for 30 years and a revered instructor of the craft.
Photo courtesy of Stone County Leader.
The Arkansas Craft School in Mountain View is a nonprofit developed in partnership with Ozarka College and Pulaski Technical College and offers continuing education credits for classes attended. Its instructors, all of whom are master craftspeople, are from Stone County as well as throughout the United States, and some are renowned internationally.
“Arkansas Craft School promotes a vibrant, creative community that inspires a life-affirming appreciation of and support for the arts,” said Phyllis Haynes, interim executive director and co-chair of development for the organization’s board. “Although its history envelops the crafts of the Ozark Mountains, the school has expanded into other creative crafts such as ‘found objects’ art and photography. We hope to expose students to new skills, opportunities and friends through our classes.”
Classes, which include everything from woodturning, blacksmithing, pottery, copper jewelry and knife making to photography and sustainable living, are small to allow for individualized instruction.
The classes are held 10 out of 12 months of the year and scheduled mostly on weekends to accommodate students throughout the state and region. For those who live closer to Stone County, evening and weekday classes also are available.
“Our classes are a great way for people to get away for a little while, relax and explore a new skill,” Phyllis said. “Once they see what they can do, they make a point to return and bring their friends. It’s a low-stress way to discover new talents.”
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Arkansas Craft School or to learn how to give a gift for someone that is hard to buy for this season, visit arkansascraftschool.org or call 870-269-8397.