Villages Folk School Offers Art Skills Working With Your Hands

BENTONSPORT, Iowa- This year marks 10 years in business for the Villages Folk School in Van Buren County. The School offers some 70 courses taught by 20 or so instructors at various locations around the county.

Blacksmith Bill Printy, and his wife Betty operate a shop called Iron and Lace in Bentonsport, a tiny town on the Des Moines River. Betty makes pottery on her wheel, with the Iowa roadside plant Queen Anne’s Lace as her signature pattern.

“The villages folk school provides an opportunity for anybody to come to a weekend class or a one day class and learn a lot about the craft,” said Betty Printy, potter, and Villages Folk School Instructor. “For instance, the weaving class my daughter teaches, you get a great appreciation for woven rug from then on.”

“We are at some friends house one night, there were 3 or 4 local artists there, and I said you know..we out to start a folk school,” said Bill Printy, blacksmith and teacher at the Villages Folk School. “So we started a real small-scale, I think it was 2009, this is about our tenth year, so we talked other artists that were interested in participating in workshops.”

The School offers courses in blacksmith, pottery, wood carving, rug weaving, making soap from goats’ milk, and many others.

“The villages folk school provides an opportunity for anybody to come to a weekend class or a one day class and learn a lot about the craft,” said Betty. “For instance the weaving class my daughter teaches that and you get a great appreciation for woven rug from then on.”

The school is located at sites across Van Buren County. Many cities there feature architecture from the mid-1800’s. These were some of the first towns to spring up in the southeast part of Iowa, along the Des Moines River.

If you’d like to know more about the Villages Folk School, click here.

For more information about Bill and Betty Printy, Iron and Lace, click here.

For information of the Villages of Van Buren County click here.