Despite a downturn in the economy, Americans are expected to
spend $475 billion on Christmas this year. The commercialization
and consumerism associated with Christmas can be distasteful, but
Artistree workshops are anything but that. Located in the Mount Tom
building in Woodstock, their annual Holiday Gift workshops are a
great way to reconnect with your artistic side and rediscover what
is important about the holidays.
"We are a non-profit committed to making creative expression and
its appreciation accessible to our community," explain the
Artistree organizers on their website. Serving as both a community
arts center and a gallery, the center "provides the opportunity for
a joyful, meaningful, and satisfying experience of the visual arts
and music through our year-round classes, workshops, and events…
Our affiliated branch, Purple Crayon Productions, focuses on
programs for children," she explained. Purple Crayon offers art,
music and movement classes for children 5 and under year-round.
Tayo Skarrow, the Center Director, adds that community art
centers are "a place for people to come together and learn
something new and meet new people. We offer a lot of different
kinds of educational experiences."
But their most popular community programs all year are the
holiday gift workshops. Attendees learn how to make special gifts
like clay Christmas ornaments, felted fancy flowers, holiday wax
luminaries and holiday folk art. There are also sing-alongs, gift
wrapping services, and caroling outings. The workshops have been
offered for the last four years.
"Every year is different," Skarrow says. "We ask for proposals
from local artists and artisans to ensure different offerings." For
example, this year there is a tie-dying workshop where
"participants will learn advanced folds and application methods to
make an endless array of designs and color combinations.
Participants will have the chance to create three clothing items of
their choice," she says. The tie-dye workshop is this Saturday,
Another interesting class will be Origami For the Holidays,
offered Dec. 18. In this workshop, "participants will be gently
guided in using paper to create beautiful origami ornaments, one of
which will be displayed on the ArtisTree Holiday Tree! Participants
will also be able to take their favorite pieces, a packet of
instructions as well as extra papers home for their personal
collection and continued practice."
If you feel like you don't need to contribute to the half a
trillion dollar holiday feeding frenzy, remember that a handmade
gift will prove to be infinitely more valuable than something
bought on Black Friday. "Everybody is busy, and everybody has a lot
going on in their lives. But to take the time to make something for
somebody is a concept we often lose sight of," said Skarrow. "It
has extra meaning when a person takes the time and thought to
create a gift. We at Artistree are able to give them the time and
space to achieve that."
A list of the workshops offered this year, along with all events
at Artistree can be found at artistreevt.org.