Art of creating

Experiment with — and experience — art of every kind at Featherstone Center for the Arts.

No matter the time of year, Featherstone Center for the Arts is always hopping. When speaking to executive director Ann Smith about the spring season, she shares, “Featherstone has scheduled so many creative offerings for March and April!”

First off, you can drop by any day of the week from noon to 4 pm to see their always intriguing art exhibitions in the beautiful, light-infused Francine Kelly Gallery. Through March 30, will be “MVC@50: Balancing Conservation + Growth.” The Martha’s Vineyard Commission (MVC) is the regional planning agency for the Island and the Elizabeth Islands that helps protect and enhance the environment, economy, character, and social fabric. Smith explains, “The MVC@50 will be a wonderful compilation of accomplishments and challenges of the staff, the commissioners, and the public in protecting the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. Designers Steve Zablotny and Peggy Turner Zablotny have worked extensively with the staff and chair, Fred Hancock, to bring to life the history of the Commission. Photographer Alison Shaw will be featured in the show. Viewers will walk away with a much better sense of how Martha’s Vineyard has developed and been preserved these past 50 years.”

On view from April 7-28 will be “Take Flight—A Look from Above,” a community art exhibition in which local artists can take the theme in any direction and any medium that strikes their fancy. (Opening reception: Sunday, April 7, 4 to 6 pm.) Smith shares, “The April Show is all about a different point of view, especially for our numerous drone photographers and all artists who may take on a view from higher ground. Our community of artists will receive the challenge!”

However, Featherstone is not just about looking at art but getting your creative juices going as well. There are a plethora of Spring options.

On March 19 from 3 pm to 6pm is Murray’s Dyeing & Painting with Natural Inks, where students will create handmade dye and ink using plant pigments from natural dye baths. They will then discover the basics of natural dyeing with shibori-resist methods to dye a cotton bandana and those for extracting pigments to create a palette of liquid inks. These inks will be used to experiment with mark-making, pattern, and visual color stories on paper and fiber to connect with local flora throughout the season.

Looking for a way to make a ceramic gift for a friend or loved one? Then try Sabrina Kuchta’s ART NIGHT! Mug Making on March 27, from 5:30-7:30 pm, or April 24, from 6-8 pm, where students will fashion a mug using hand-building techniques. At the end of the session, participants can select a glaze finish, and their mug will be fired, glazed, and then available for pick-up three weeks later.

Murray will return again to teach Eco Printing with Plants on April 3 from 4 to 7 pm. Eco-printing is the process of bundling and steaming both plants and food waste onto either fabric or paper, allowing the natural pigments to transfer to the prepared substrate. All the colors, shapes, and textures that bond with the fiber come from the materials themselves. Participants will print on a cotton bandana, tote bag, and linen cloth to create beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that can be admired forever.

You can learn the art of painting with wool to invent your own felted landscape “painting” using a 6-inch wooden hoop in Painting with Wool with Rory Valentine on April 13 from 12 to 4 pm. Needle fleeting is a dynamic technique using barbed needles to entangle wool fibers. Each student will warp their loom and experiment with “bookmark” weaving techniques to create texture, color stories, and patterns on the frame.

​Valentine will also teach a Sachiko Stitching workshop on April 14 from 10 am to 12 pm. Here, students will revitalize heirlooms and fabric home goods with visible mending. The workshop will explore patching, darning, Japanese Sashiko stitching, and other embroidery techniques to artfully repair, renew, and reuse your clothing and textiles for years to come.

Of course, if you are going to be on-Island for any length of time, Featherstone also has a wide plethora of classes to choose from.

Fortunately, no matter your interest or timeframe, there are many ways to feed your creative spirit this spring.

For more information and to register for workshops, visit