The Michigan Folk School has added a glassblowing studio to its campus construction plans at Staebler Farm County Park, 7734 Plymouth Rd. in Superior Township.
Jason Gold, who co-founded the folk arts and skills school with his wife Julia, says a group of community members approached them with the desire to build a glassblowing studio and saw the Michigan Folk School as a good fit. With the help of a major contribution from a donor, plans for the studio's construction were put into place.
Once complete, Gold says the studio will be available for glassblowing classes and studio time for community members to use for their own projects. The studio is being built simultaneously with a multipurpose building for the school. Gold says the team is considering sustainable energy as part of its build plan.
"The amount of heat in a glassblowing studio is high," Gold says. "We want to try and use that heat to help heat the multipurpose building."
Although the donor contribution was a huge step for the studio's construction, Gold says the school will still hold a fundraiser to cover the remaining costs. The glassblowing studio and multipurpose building are expected to complete construction in two years.
Despite ongoing construction, Michigan Folk School has seen positive turnouts for the first classes its held since its new campus opened in January. Class topics have included woodworking and other crafts.
"The feeling behind (opening the campus) was extraordinary," Gold says. "We've been working on this since 2012, and it was truly a remarkable and incredible experience welcoming people in."
The school holds classes two to three times a week. By 2020, organizers hope to offer four to five classes a week.
The surrounding Staebler Park is under development and not yet open to the public. Gold says the county plans to make progress this spring by finishing the parking lot and cutting trails. He says the park will be finished around the time the Michigan Folk School holds its grand opening ceremony on June 8.
In the future, Gold says the school is interested in working with an organization to provide a live farm animal experience among its class offerings.
"Our intention was always to work with other groups that have focus on certain areas," Gold says. "Once our campus is complete, we will be able expand our offerings by more than 70 percent."
Emily Benda is a freelance writer based in Ann Arbor. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Michigan Folk School.