Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Adirondack Family Activities: The Adirondack Folk School

The weather in April can be a bit finicky, to say the least. Just as in any other season in the Adirondacks, there are inside options for entertaining ourselves.

The Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne has finalized its 2012 schedule of over 200 classes focusing on the traditional folk arts and crafts of the Adirondacks.

Executive Assistant Mary Stevens says,” We do have some nice classes going on this month with the majority of our programs ranging from a few hours to a few days. Currently we have courses such as ‘How to carve an Adirondack Loon,’ with Walt LeClair, and ‘Making Gourd Art’ as well as the popular ‘Stick and a Hike.’”

Stevens says that planning ahead is essential, as classes do tend to fill up. Classes at the Adirondack Folk School are geared toward individual attention, so attendance is intentionally kept low.

We are a small, non-profit,” says Stevens. “We are always open to having people interested in volunteering to come and fill out a registration form. Up until this year, 2012, the Adirondack Folk School was completely run by volunteers. We have 25 new instructors at the school this year for a total of 75. We are very excited to have them and all that they are offering.”

Stevens says, “Our whole goal is to promote the arts, crafts and culture of the Adirondacks. We aren’t looking for students with previous skills. We want people to able to walk out of class with a nice piece of art or something functional.”

“We have a number of classes for children,” says Stevens. “What we call ‘A Stick and a Hike’ is very popular. An adult comes with the child and they learn to carve their own hiking stick. During the morning the students learn about trail etiquette and what to take on a hike. Later they can enjoy the trails. It is a nice day to share for anyone ages 8 to 80.”

Other classes geared toward children are Nature Photography, Tinsmithing for Young People, Basic Blacksmithing, Fly-Casting Basics for the Young as well as Creative Clay Construction for Kids.

On April 21 the Adirondack Folk School will be hosting a free event called “Song and Story Swap” with singer and musician Colleen Cleveland. People are encouraged to share songs, stories or poems in a round robin, focusing on a specific theme. The Traditional Arts of Upstate New York (TAUNY) will be there with plans to record and present the evening of music on their website.

“We also have a new open air bread oven and will be teaching a series of cooking classes we didn’t have in 2011,” says Stevens. “We will be teaching a class on ancient grains and baking in a wood-fired oven. In the fall, we will be having a Colonial Fest and students will be using colonial cookbook recipes to make food by traditional methods, such as cast iron Dutch ovens.”

The Adirondack Folk School opened its doors in 2010, offering 90 classes to almost 300 students in that first year. Housed in the former Town of Lake Luzerne town hall building, the school hosts inside or outside classrooms in fiber arts, basketry, woodworking, ceramics, woodcarving, felting, quilting, blacksmithing, boatbuilding and more.

Photo provided by the Adirondack Folk School.

Diane Chase is the author of Adirondack Family Time: Lake Placid and the High Peaks, Your Four-Season Guide to Over 300 Activities. Her second family guidebook will be in stores summer 2012.


Diane Chase

Diane Chase is the author of the Adirondack Family Activities guidebook series, Adirondack Family Time. She writes about ways to foster imaginative play through fun-filled events and activities in the Adirondack region.

From her home in Saranac Lake, Diane also writes a weekly family-oriented newspaper column for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and keeps her own blog Adirondack Family Time. Her writing and photography has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines, marketing companies and advertising agencies.

She even finds time to assist her husband with Adirondack Expeditions guiding families and young adults in the High Peaks.




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