BENTONSPORT, Iowa — This year marks ten years in business for the Villages Folk School in Van Buren County. The school offers some 70 courses taught by around 20 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, a pottery instructor at Villages Folk School. “For instance, the weaving class my daughter teaches, you get a great appreciation for woven rug from then on.”
“We were at some friends’ house one night. There were three or four local artists there, and I said, you know, we ought to start a folk school,” said Bill Printy, a blacksmith instructor at Villages Folk School. “So we started at a real small-scale. I think it was 2009. This is about our tenth year. 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 goat milk and many others.
The school is located at sites across Van Buren County. Many cities there feature architecture from the mid-1800s. 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’s Iron and Lace, click here.
For information of the villages of Van Buren County, click here.