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Craft group working to set up shop at Commodore Options School

Islanders are set to get crafty, and are willing to go to school for it.

A collection of island crafters from wood workers to jewelry makers and more have banded together to form “BARN,” or Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network. The Bainbridge group has been utilizing its skills and teaching them to any interested individual for years.

But BARN has yet to find a permanent space to work in. It’s a difficult predicament given the need for various tools and materials to make things.

The crafters have been eying a plot of land off Madison Avenue and New Brooklyn Road for a future home.

“We are hoping to purchase property in the early part of this year,” said Jeanne Huber of BARN. “We have enough pledges to buy the property, and Johnpaul Jones has agreed to design it.” Huber estimates that it will be at least two years until BARN has a facility on the property to house its projects.

In the meantime, they may have found temporary housing to bridge the gap. The Bainbridge Island School District is considering a lease that would allow BARN to set up shop in four empty classrooms in Commodore.

“They loved the idea,” Huber said of school officials. “There is a whole wing of Commodore that is empty, so our idea is to open a temporary space there.”

“We expect to get in there pretty soon and build work benches and open by spring,” Huber added.

Huber said that the school district is working out details such as proper insurance to cover the project.

“Getting the Commodore operation open is huge for us,” Huber said. “It will allow us to start having programs and classes.”

After it’s up and running, BARN can begin molding new crafters on Bainbridge.

“Our whole idea is to have it be multigenerational,” Huber said. “People who have spent years learning craftsmanship can pass it on.”

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