At times life may not be all that stressful. Then there are the days when you don’t want to get out of bed. Farmstead arts is one of those classes that you want to get up for because you know that you are going to be learning a new craft, or outlet for stress and creativity. The course is not full of lab reports and reading. You work with your hands and create novelty items, foods and salves (among other specifics). Most of these items are used completely free of any harmful or toxic chemicals, making them environmentally friendly and suiting the conservation ecology degree I am going for.
Learning how to use different locally harvested fiber sources for baskets and paper was a great way to get in touch with the land and create a sustainable product from a renewable resource. When you feel the muscles ache in your arms from pounding black ash logs and harbor your stress into making each strip of weaving material perfect you turn negative energy into something positive, like a basket.
Some classes may not be so clear to some people why they are important but by the time you finish you realize that the skills you gained and the lessons learned in taking time to create something you are proud of and focusing on a goal can be very rewarding. Many other students do not yet have a child and have not gone through the few weeks where its sheer paranoia over everything that could potentially harm them. This class gives an introduction into safe products for babies and children.
The salve that we made in class is great to use on chapped knees of a baby just learning to crawl and walk. The dyes are made from natural sources so the leaching of chemicals into skin isn’t a worry. The process of dehydrating is a lifesaver when you need snacks for on the go. Drying fruit and mixing it in with some cheerios or whatever trail mix you create is a great way to make the food go farther and satisfy the sweet tooth in a healthier way.
There is no doubt that the skills I gained in this class with stick with me throughout my life. There have also been seeds planted for further study and exploration. These sorts of introductory classes get your mind reeling and your eyes are opened to many possibilities of value added products, healthier options and sustainable alternatives.
--posted on behalf of Liz--