The Fiber Craft Studio, formerly the Craft Studio of Sunbridge College, has evolved over the course of 20 years serving the students of the college and offering courses and workshops open to the public. In the summer of 2008 it became a separate initiative and joined the family of institutions that are working under the umbrella of the Threefold Educational Center seeking to put into practice the ideas inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner.
Over the course of time many individuals have contributed to its social fabric, nurtured its spiritual substance and cared for its physical spaces, gardens, tools and materials. This collaborative working in the service of ideals is still one of its hallmarks today.
Our studio is located at Orchard House, a lovely white brick building, on the campus of the Threefold Educational Center. It has a walled-in backyard with a large terrace that serves as an outdoor work and teaching space.
Faculty, Co-Workers, Friends and Volunteers
Chris Marlow, co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio, graduated from the first Applied Arts Cycle in 1999. She was a handwork teacher at Green Meadow Waldorf School for 15 years and at the West Side Community School, a charter school in NYC, for 2 years. She is program director for the Applied Arts Program.
Sono Kuwayama(MFA), co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio, graduated from the fourth cycle of the Applied Arts Cycle. She was a handwork teacher and taught various groups of homeschoolers and the younger grades at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. She also co-directed the Craft Certificate Program and taught handwork in the Foundation Studies Program at the Brooklyn Waldorf School. She chairs the Applied Arts Research Council.
Mikae Toma, former co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio, has served to develop and nurture the life of the studio for 12 years. She returned to Japan in summer 2014. One of her main focuses has been research on the Renewal of the Art of Clothing, which had begun as collaborative work with Renate Hiller. Though her work will continue in Japan, she remains an emeritus member of our Advisory Circle and we look forward to continued collaborating in the future.
Renate Hiller, former co-director of the Fiber Craft Studio, has served the development of the Studio for 23 years at Sunbridge College and under the umbrella of the Threefold Center. She co-founded the Sunbridge College Applied Arts Program in 1996.
Renate is indebted to the late Margarethe Frohlich, a celebrated pioneer in teaching handwork in North American Waldorf Schools, for her guidance and years of mentoring.
Mayuko Matsuda, administrator
Cathy Murphy, co-worker
Miho Suzuki, co-worker
Jaime Arenas, Renate Hiller, Cathy Murphy
Chris Marlow, Mayuko Matsuda, Sono Kuwayama
The ongoing work at the Fiber Craft Studio is supported by many contributions from generous friends and volunteers.
Our ongoing study, practice and research are the basis for our teaching and all other activities.
Applied Arts Program Handwork Teacher Education
This part-time program supports the spiritual and practical growth of Waldorf handwork teachers or individuals aspiring to become teachers. The program explores the art, philosophy, practice and pedagogy of teaching handwork. It is also a forum for sharing insights and experiences arising in the classroom. Participants meet two weeks in the summer and one week in the winter for four years. Preparatory reading and independent research complement the coursework. A new cycle begins every two years. The next cycle will begin in the summer of 2015; click here for more information.
We offer several weekend workshops each year in plant-dyeing, felting and knitting. Each workshop offers the opportunity to rediscover the wonders of natural materials, to learn new skills, and to immerse oneself in an artistic, transformative process. The emphasis is on the process of creation and on working with others. Click here for a listing of our current offerings.
Our "Sheep to Shawl" One-Year Course takes a group of participants through the seasons from january to December (including a summer break for individual explorations). During the course of the year - whilie exploring the crafts of spinning, dyeing with plants and knitting - several whole wool fleeces are being transformaed into individualized creations. Study/conversation and painting classes are included to deepen the hands-on craft activities. Click here for more infornmation.
Open Studio and Sales
We sell our plant-dyed fibers, yarns and fiber craft kits at our Studio in Orchard House. The Studio is open for customers visitors most Fridays from 2:30PM - 4:30PM. Click here for more information.
We also sell our items at other locations and fiber events as wellas through our online store.
Study, Practice and Research
In our collaborative working as fiber artisans we are inspired by a spirit-imbued image of the human being, nature and the cosmos. Whether we take in the wonders embodied in a lock of wool fleece or in a silkworm cocoon, or whether we observe a plant as it metamorphoses through the seasons, we cannot but be filled with awe and gratitude for nature's gifts. As we become engaged not only with our eyes and our mind, but also with our hands and our heart, nature begins to reveal her secrets - we may sense and feel the creative spirit active in it. As fiber artisans, it is our task and our privilege to continue the work of nature - working with her materials, inspired by her gestures of color and form, to create objects for daily use that are both functional and beautiful. Balancing usefulness and beauty, so that perfect harmony is achieved, is the goal we set ourselves again and again. As we transform nature's gifts, we practice approaching all realms of life with artistic sensibility.
We practice and research the art and craft of dyeing with plants to bring harmonious, truly beautiful colors to the fibers and yarns we use. We grow many of the plants in our dye-garden in the biodynamic gardens of the Pfeiffer Center, or we harvest them in the surrounding countryside. We also use some of the plant materials grown in tropical regions. The living sun-imbued quality of plant colors is a therapy for the senses and brings nourishment to the soul.
Through hand-spinning, knitting, crocheting, felting and sewing - using beautiful, mostly plant-dyed materials - we seek to enliven the art of clothing. Can clothing become a true art again that serves the human being in body, soul and spirit? This is a question we live with, as we create garments inspired by Rudolf Steiner's indications for a renewal of the art of clothing. (Please visit our gallery to see some of our handmade vests, tops and accessories.)
If you are interested in being a volunteer to help us, please let us know! We would love to have you join our work!
Youtube Video Renate Hiller- "on Handwork" by Chuck Smith & Sono Kuwayama! We are indebted to The Brooklyn Waldorf School, and Chuck Smith and Sono Kuwayama for this special gift.
Copyright 2012 Fiber Craft Studio. All rights reserved.