Creative Homesteading Workshops – Summer 2015

Sorting flowers for natural dyeing

This summer, the Wyckoff House Museum is excited to present a series of seven workshops for adults (and teens) in what we’re calling “creative homesteading.” Get your hands dirty in the garden, experiment with natural dyes, learn about herbal medicine, preserve your harvest, and more at the oldest house in New York!

How to sign up

Participants may sign up for any or all workshops. For more information about the program, please email Workshops are FREE, but advanced registration is required. To register, please complete the sign-up form.

Please note that as pre-registration fills up for upcoming workshops, we will ask interested participants to join a waitlist. We anticipate being able to open additional spots to people on the waitlist in the week before each workshop.

These workshops are intended for adults and mature teens (ages 13 and up).

Open Pre-Registration Form

Upcoming Workshops

Soap making

August 1, 2015 – 1-3 p.m. – Registration FULL

Participants in this outdoor soap making workshop will create their own soaps using a combination of ingredients including essential oils and a variety of herbs, flowers, and miscellany from the Wyckoff House grounds. Traditional soap making recipes will be discussed and updated. No lye.

Sophy Naess is a painter, printmaker, writer, and teacher working across media including soap and weaving. Read about her soap pieces on

Natural dyeing

Plant-based dyes from the Wyckoff House Museum's dyer's garden.August 8, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

Did you know your garden is already growing a wealth of materials that you can use to beautify other things? Come learn how to take the otherwise inedible plants in your garden and dye various fibers. We will use plant materials grown specifically for dyeing as well as less commonly used dye plants. This workshop will be an exploration of the potential and uses of natural materials.

Lisa Sikorski is a lady who is interested in all aspects of craft and artistic production. She holds a formal degree in studio art but is also interested in the creative process as a means of building community and a medicament for the ills of modernity. She’s been investigating the process of dyeing with source plants at the Wyckoff House Museum for several years now and is constantly amazed at the wealth of materials and colors that grow right here on the property.

Canning and pickling

Canned food stored in the Wyckoff House cellar.August 29, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

Learn the basics of preserving food through canning and pickling. Workshop participants will practice canning techniques and prepare a simple fruit preserve and a freezer pickle from seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Chris Gollmar is the Wyckoff House Museum’s Education and Development Coordinator. He looks forward to the late summer and fall harvest seasons, when he can frequently be found in the kitchen all day, preparing and canning whatever is in season.

Seasonal ferments

September 12, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

Smell, taste, discuss and make a few simple seasonal ferments. In this workshop we’ll explore and craft two delicious types of ferments that are easily made at home without any special ingredients or equipment: a sauerkraut (and its cousins) as well as various styles of sour cream. Depending on what’s in season there may be additional ferments to explore.

Zack Schulman has been enjoying fermented foods as long as he can remember, but became hooked on making them after a successful attempt at sauerkraut over a decade ago. He continues to ferment vegetables, dairy, grains and other foods at home and organizes an annual celebration of homemade ferments that brings together hundreds of people to share tastes, experiences, and enthusiasm.


Recent Workshops

Garden basics

Two teenagers learn about gardening at the Wyckoff House Museum.June 20, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

This workshop covers all the information you need to get going in the garden. From site selection, soil preparation, crop planning, seed starting, pest management and harvesting — you will learn all the basic tools to plan your garden space for optimal production and enjoyment. There will not only be discussion, but practical hands on activities as well! This class is designed for brand new gardeners and anyone who wants to know more about gardening.

Sheryll Durrant is an urban farmer, educator and food justice advocate. She is the director of the urban farm and garden program for Sustainable Flatbush and is currently a 2014 certificate student in Urban Agriculture at Farm School NYC. Sheryll is a certified master composter through the NYC  Compost Project, a 2013 WAAB Fellow, and in 2012 she received a Certificate of Achievement in Community Organizing from Citizens Committee For NYC Neighborhood Leadership Institute. As a 2014/15 Outreach Fellow for Five Borough Farms/Farming Concrete she helped to measure the impact of urban agriculture in NYC.

Medicinal herbs

July 11, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

In this hands-on medicine making class we will focus on creating a home first aid kit for summer maladies. We will address the following conditions: cuts and scrapes, burns (sun and fire), bug bites, muscle aches, bleeding and bruises, and poison ivy and poison oak rash. We will talk about safety and effectiveness of various ingredients as well as child friendly dosages. Extensive handouts will be provided.

Karen M. Rose is trained in Eastern and Western Herbal Medicine and is personally dedicated to empowering individuals to make informed decisions with regards to their health and lives. As owner of Sacred Vibes Healing and the Sacred Vibes Apothecary, a Brooklyn-based, community herbal apothecary, Karen is connected to both the earth and the community in which she practices, consults and teaches herbal medicine. Learn more about Karen at

Spinning and felting

Yarn made on a drop spindle and felted wool.July 18, 2015 – 1-3 p.m.

This workshop focuses on the process of cloth making from raw fleece and roving (cleaned, carded fleece) to yarn and felted fabrics. We will be spinning—both with a drop spindle as well as with a spinning wheel. We will be felting—both needle felting and water felting. We will be creating beads, patches, paintings, creatures. If you can imagine it, you can felt it! During the workshop there will be discussions of the methods used throughout the history of cloth-making. Be prepared to leave this class with something wonderful that you’ve made.

Miranda Knutson is a Historical Cloth-making instructor, Licensed New York City tour guide, Stage Combat choreographer, and Event Coordinator, with a Medieval History Masters from London focused on the weaving laws and technology of England. And that is only what she does in her spare time. She is passionate about creating intellectually stimulating and exciting conversations between the public and sites in innovative hands-on ways.

Open Pre-Registration Form

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