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    Olson Kundig Launches Artisan Workshops for Public

    Olson Kundig Architects has launched a new type of community classroom in Seattle, offering free introductory-level classes on a wide variety of artisan crafts. Known as Dabblelab, the series targets mainly adults with classes on varied topics such as contour drawing, book binding, macrame, and beekeeping.

    The classes are held at [storefront] Olson Kundig Architects, the architects' experimental space for engaging the public in architectural collaborations, research, community projects, artist residencies, prototypes, exhibits and installations.

    “There is a long tradition of public and social education forums that have evolved today with social media and technology,” says Kirsten R. Murray, the program co-director. “There is little that you can't learn online, but what we hope to do is create something that re-engages the social and ‘in real life’ aspects of shared education."

    The varied program is inspired by Circuit Chautauqua, "a popular adult education movement in the 1920s that brought culture and entertainment to rural communities in the form of temporary attractions held in tent-like structures," explains the architects' web site. In that spirit, classes typically last 1-2 hours and are available during standard workday lunch hours or after work.

    "We've had an incredible response from people who want to teach and attend classes, and are adding drop-in activities to the space as well,” says Murray.

    “It’s nice to think that this space can provide a way for folks to break typical patterns and get out of their comfort zones to either teach or learn something new,” says Megan Quinn, DabbleLab coordinator. “It’s when day-to-day patterns are broken that we meet new, intriguing people, and maybe find a new passion for a skill or an area of interest.”