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Arts and Crafts Center’s products, services help people de-stress, learn hobbies

Brittany Aronson, recreational assistant, teaches Lt. Col. Mike Lightfoot, 23rd Flying Training Squadron, how to cut a corner for a photo frame at the arts and craft center last year. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Brittany Aronson, recreational assistant, teaches Lt. Col. Mike Lightfoot, 23rd Flying Training Squadron, how to cut a corner for a photo frame at the arts and craft center last year. (Photo by Sara E. Martin)

Published: July 11, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (July 11, 2014) -- There are many ways people can learn new things and decompress after a hard day and the Fort Rucker Arts and Crafts Center’s mission is to help people learn multiple skills and find peace of mind through crafts.

The center in Bldg. 9205 on Ruf Avenue provides opportunities for Families to spend time together, as well as for Soldiers to relieve stress.

“People can learn a new hobby here,” said Joan Varner, arts and crafts center program manager. “They can leave with a certification that says they are qualified to do something. So when they go to their next duty station, they can walk in and utilize the shop instead of having to buy something.”

The center offers many forms of learning and entertainment, from art classes to social events, and even though the building is undergoing major renovation, classes are still in full swing.

Basic framing classes are offered three times a week. Classes are $40 each, which includes all materials. People will walk out of the class with a completed piece.

Adult pottery wheel throwing classes are held once a month on Saturdays. Classes are $24. Patrons make three to four pieces and everything in the class is included. The next class will be held July 19 at 10 a.m.

There is a sewing class for $10 and it also includes everything. It is held several times a month on Saturdays from 1-3 p.m.

A woodshop safety class is offered every Saturday for $5 at 9 a.m., and there are also quilting classes, wood burning classes, ceramic classes, crafting classes, and a sip and paint class.

Pick-N-Paint, where people pick from ceramic items and paint them, is available during shop hours. Prices start at $5 an hour plus the item cost.

Most classes have age requirements and are by appointment only, so Varner asks that patrons sign up for all classes at least 24 hours before class time, with the exception of the regular woodshop safety class.

Varner added that if there is any craft that a patron wishes to learn, and a class is not offered, to contact the center and that someone will most likely be able to instruct them.

The center has a full engraving shop, which enables workers to engrave on almost anything besides the inside of a ring.

The center also has embroidery, sublimation and custom framing services.

“People can buy and engrave so much merchandise,” said Varner. “We have a miniature Sgt. Ted E. Bear; silver, bronze and copper award eagles; different types of plaques for retirement and award ceremonies; trophies of all shapes and sizes; flask sets; personalized name blocks; and office desktop gifts.

“We do custom orders. There are literally hundreds of things people can buy and customize here,” she continued.

All military personnel, their Families and those who work on the installation are allowed to use the facility. 

“Families can come in here and our services can be utilized on a rainy day to keep their brains active. It is nice to do a Family project together,” she said. “Or you can meet with a group of friends for a class.”

People take pride in things they have made with their own hands, and learning a new craft is beneficial in a lot of ways, she added.

“It can be very therapeutic,” she said. “When Soldiers come back from overseas, they need something to do besides just talking about it. Painting, framing and ceramics gives them something to do with their hands – it can be great therapy for them.”

The center is open Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, call 255-9020.

This article was originally published at

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