At the very start of the summer, a place called the WildCraft Studio School launched in White Salmon, Washington (about and hour and a half's drive from Portland). Calling itself an "experiment in integration," it offers classes and workshops on things like how to make dyes from herbs, flowers, spices, and veggies, a mushroom hunting 101 workshop, screenprinting, textile design, seasonal medicine, weaving... and it looks awesome. The website alone is tremendously appealing. I don't know about you, but this image makes me want to take a dye-making workshop even more than I already do:
The mission statement of the school reads like a TBA catalogue: "Our vision is to create a space where the practices of art, design, craft and farming can live side by side, informing and expanding the approach to each discipline. The classes we choose to offer strive to embody this goal, by bringing nature to studio work, aesthetics to the garden, and design-thinking to all projects. Through this integrated curriculum, we hope to dissolve the divisions that exist between art and everyday life." I can get down with that.
The teachers involved are amazing, including Kristen Dilley and Elie Barausky of the righteous Portland Apothecary (currently working my way through a bar of their "Desert" soap... sorry if that's TMI), artist Chelsea Heffner, and designer/jewelry maker Jen Goff. It looks, and sounds, like a rad way to take a little creative nature retreat. The only thing missing is lodging. But, there are nearby cabins that can be rented and places to stay in close-by downtown White Salmon (most of the workshops are one to three days long). Upcoming classes include the aforementioned mushroom hunt coming next month and those lovely, appealing natural dyes. You know, in case you've got that back to school feeling...