Fiber College of Maine Touchstone Workshop: Sept 4-8

Sculptural and Functional Brooms and Brushes

This workshop will use traditional techniques to create compelling and imaginative brooms and brushes that communicate ideas and feelings through their utility and beyond.  Brooms and brushes have long been a utilitarian staple within our homes with an innate beauty. Historically, brooms and brushes have taken a variety of forms depending on function within the home or daily life.

With Lin Elkins

In this retreat, we will cover harvesting and processing of fiber and materials and traditional binding methods for forms such as hand-held turkey wings, cobwebs, crumb brushes and hearth sweeps. We will in turn use this knowledge to guide and inform more sculptural broom and brush shapes. Through a cycle of playing and building, students will channel their own voice while working to question convention and find their own balance between form and function. A heavy emphasis will be placed on playing with color, found objects (in natural and at your local thrift store), alternative configurations and shapes, and stretching the definition of functional.

Many of the techniques and skills covered during this retreat will be transferable to continuing the craft at home. Resources for where to allocate tools and materials will be covered so you can continue on your broom and brush crafting journey post retreat!

Class and retreat fee: $980

Materials fee: $85

-Materials description:

All broom and brush making materials will be supplied. If you have a five gallon bucket, towel, boxcutter, carving knife, or any woodworking shaping tools (rasps, spokeshaves, sandpaper, etc.), please bring them.

Please feel free to bring any branches, found objects, or fibrous material of your choice to incorporate into your pieces. Searsport shores is also a treasure trove of potential for sourcing materials for projects. Wear well fitting closed-toed shoes and clothing you do not mind getting wet or stained. Safety glasses are required.

If you have any questions, please email Lin at


For more information on accommodation options, click here.

To see the other workshop offerings, click here.

Portrait of artist Lin Elkins.

Lin Elkins

Lin is a furniture maker and craftswoman.

Her work explores purposeful functionality, playfulness, and art, often taking a modern twist on traditional craft techniques. Lin strives to create socially and environmentally conscious goods that foster healthy, sustainable, and enriched lives. By creating opportunities for sensory exploration, users experience moments of comfort, wonder, and curiosity.

At the end of 2021, she wrapped up a year-long fellowship at the STEAM Studio through the University of North Carolina Asheville. During her time there, she explored teaching, community engagement,  and developing a design identity through her work. The following year, she took a deeper dive into craft and craft education as a member of the 2022 cohort of North House Folk School interns. Currently, she works and practices her craft at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship as the Staff Fellow and Media Coordinator.


Touchstone Retreat Schedule


Settle into this magical world

2:00-5:00 Register, share a cider, pick up a map of places you might like to visit in the area and settle in for your relaxing retreat once you've gotten a lay of the land

5:30-7:30 Join us for cocktails/mocktails, snacks, and social time.  Meet the instructors and share in the stories while we have a teacher's work exhibition.  We'll light a campfire if you'd like to linger into the evening and toast marshmallows under the stars.


Dive deep into your passion

8-9 Breakfast (included for everyone, veg & GF friendly)

9-12 Class

12-2 Garden Lunch and Guided conversation (1:00-1:30) (veg & GF friendly)

2-5 Class

5:30-6:30 pre-dinner sip and stroll~ a chance to walk the beach and catch up on the day's activities.

Thursday: Light Dinner (veg & GF friendly) Followed by a Forest Bathing Walk through the ancient Oak grove

Friday: Dinner on your own, studios will remain accessible and we'll have a campfire in the garden for your pleasure

Saturday: Moveable Feast, Some part of dinner will be served in each of the classrooms...stroll through and see what everyone's been creating


Re-emerge Gently

8-9 Breakfast (included for everyone, veg & GF friendly)

9-12 Class

12:30 - 3 Lunch, book signing, special shopping, pictures and goodbyes (veg & GF friendly)