By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 19, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- For those looking for a creative outlet, people on Fort Rucker need to look no further than the Fort Rucker Arts and Crafts Center.
The center offers a means for people to create custom items on their own, learn a new crafting skill or hire a helping hand to create custom work, according to Angel Dietz, arts and crafts center program manager.
The center provides services to people on post at great prices, said the program manager. In addition to the savings, people can learn how to create unforgettable pieces of art with some of the center's classes.
"We have an amazing framing class and we get a lot of amazing feedback -- even my husband has taken the class," said Dietz. "Our framing teacher has an artistic mind, which I love. She's great at teaching and she's very personable.
"People should definitely take the framing class -- it's worth it," she said. "It's extremely easy and it's super cheap if you do it yourself."
The center also has a full pottery and ceramics area with more than 2,000 ceramic molds for people to choose from, and a wide variety of hobbies and skill classes are offered monthly ranging from sewing, quilting, mosaics, drawing and painting, as well as classes for children. Another class the center is offering is their stained glass classes.
"We have an amazing stained glass workshop, as well," she said. "The only thing anyone has to do is show up and we have everything they need to get started."
The center provides the glass for mosaics, all the trimming material, as well as machinery, such as water grinders, for people to craft their creations.
The stained glass classes run weekly and cost $40 per person, and people can work at their own pace, said Dietz.
"Once they learn, they can come in and purchase the materials themselves and create whatever they'd like," she added.
Painting classes are also available for both children and adults on a weekly basis. The adult painting class is available Fridays from 6-8 p.m. and for children Saturdays from 1-3 p.m.
The classes are typically staggered from week to week, said Dietz, so if the adult class is held one week, the children's class will be held the following week.
Most classes have age requirements and are available by appointment only, so it's suggested that patrons sign up for all classes at least 24 hours before class time.
The center also boasts a fully-equipped woodshop that allows people build anything from a jewelry box to wood art to custom furniture, said the program manager. Lee Schmidt, known by many locally as the Wood Guru, runs the woodshop and can offer his help and services to patrons.
The shop's equipment includes: a 25-inch sander/planer; two jointers; resaw bandsaw; two table saws; panel saw; routers for cutting grooves; two lathes; two miter saws; 14-inch bandsaw; radial arm saw; shapers; hand tools and more.
"We have almost anything you would need to make whatever you'd like to make -- the shop has it," said Schmidt. "We've had people make dining room furniture and some of the biggest things they've created are bed frames."
To use the woodshop or take classes in the woodshop, participants must first complete a one-hour safety course, which will help people become familiar with the equipment and how it works. The safety course costs $5 and is held Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 9 a.m.
Dietz encourages people to sign up for the Wednesday safety course since Saturday courses can fill up quickly.
Upon completion of the safety course, people can use the woodshop for $5 per hour. Cost of woodshop work by the center's personnel is $25 per hour.
The center also offers a host of services, including framing, gifts, engraving, custom embroidery, screen printing and sublimation, which allows people to customize just about anything from clothes, bags, mugs and more.
"We can put a face or an image on coasters, mugs, polyester shirts, onesies, bibs -- just about anything," said Dietz. "As long as it's made of the right material, we can do it."
There is also plenty of merchandise that people can purchase and engrave, including the miniature sculptures of Sgt. Ted E. Bear; silver, bronze and copper award eagles; various plaques and trophies; and personalized name plates and office gifts.
For more information on the center's services, classes or products, call 255-9020.