Ahavah has been involved in canning and preserving since age 4 when she started helping her mother snapping and preparing the green beans they had grown in their garden. Today she teaches her own children to can and along with her husband Jake, oversees a small jams and jellies business that preserves 15,000 jars a year.Canning
Brandon’s interest in pottery began when he was fifteen. In 2013 he began taking lessons at Homestead Pottery. At the age of eighteen, he began a two-year apprenticeship and is now currently a journeyman potter. He is perfecting his skill and is one of Ploughshare’s main teachers for the pottery courses. Brandon enjoys teaching pottery and throwing a number of pieces such as Homestead pottery’s lacto-fermentation crocks and a line of horsehair Raku.Pottery
Butch speaks regularly to groups locally and nationwide on the issues of sustainable agriculture based upon his 35 years of experience as a gardener and farmer. As an instructor at The Ploughshare for the past 21 years, he has taught sustainable farming and ranching to hundreds of beginning and experienced farmers and gardeners. He has also developed numerous courses and published curriculum on these topics.
In addition to teaching and research, he is a farm and ranch consultant with Homestead Farm Design. Butch and his wife, Diane, along with their children and grandchildren own and operate Aquilla Valley Farm, a small, diversified family farm north of Waco, Texas.Gardening Homesteading
Master blacksmith Caleb Nolen began learning blacksmithing at age 14, and for more than two decades has been a fixture at Heritage Forge. He continues to expand his skills, having recently studied under noted blacksmith Tsur Sadan, as well as at the renowned Granfor Bruks Forge in Sweden, learning traditional axe making. Caleb crafts both tools and custom furniture and received recognition by his peers with the 2010 Texas Furniture Makers Best of Show award.
Caleb lives near campus with his wife Rebekah, a cheese-making instructor at The Ploughshare, and two sons.Blacksmithing
Cary has been making cheese with her family for over ten years. She has taught classes for The Ploughshare and demonstrated and taught seminars at various sustainability conferences. She enjoys sharing her delight in watching liquid milk turn into a variety of delicious soft and hard cheeses. Through her experience in making small batches of cheese at home, she now inspires others to provide their own families with fresh, homemade dairy products, including butter, yogurt, mozzarella and cheddar.Cheesemaking
For more than 25 years Cindy has been teaching classes on Machine Sewing, as well as traditional Quilting. In addition to teaching, she’s also developed extensive curriculums to help other instructors. The mother of two accomplished seamstresses, together they operate Simply Fabrics, an artisan quilting and fabric store. A mother of six, and grandmother of many and counting, Cindy lives near the campus with her husband Warren.Sewing
Donna Arispe’s enthusiasm in all her crafts is evident whether you step into her workshop, see her handiwork displayed or take a class with her personally. First learning to oil-paint at the age of 17, she has immersed herself into many other crafts ever since. Nearly 30 years ago she began spinning and making pottery. Working as a master potter for 20 years, she then turned her focus to spinning and weaving. In 2015 Donna won awards for her hand-made jacket—hand-dyed, spun and woven fabric, tailored and finished with hand-made ceramic buttons. In recent years she has studied with well-known spinners Judith Mckenzie, Jacey Boggs, Jillian Moreno and Joan Ruanne. Donna lives nearby the Ploughshare campus and actively spins, weaves, dyes fibers and enjoys teaching friends, grandchildren and students at the Ploughshare.Spinning
Elizabeth Adams first learned to make soap from her mother when she was nineteen. Since then, her family and friends have been the glad beneficiaries of her soap-making endeavors. She apprenticed under two master soap makers who taught her more advanced skills. For the past five years, Elizabeth has enjoyed teaching students with Ploughshare from as far away as Mexico, South Africa and the Netherlands.Soapmaking
Grady is the farm manager at Homestead Heritage. After growing up on a holistically-minded cattle and sheep ranch in southwest Oklahoma, Grady apprenticed at Polyface Farm to learn directly from Joel Salatin. Two years later, he and his new family managed a Polyface rental farm in Middlebrook, Virginia where they cared for cattle, pigs, laying hens, broiler chickens, and turkeys, all raised on pasture. In 2014, Grady and his family moved to Texas to help start a large-scale pastured poultry enterprise on an existing ranch. They are now full-time farmers at Homestead Heritage where Grady manages day-to-day work on the farm.Horse Farming
For over 20 years, Gretchen Deines has grown culinary herbs for a variety of uses. Her home business provides salves, balms and ointments. She also experiments with extracting oils for essential oils for medicinal purposes. A translator by trade, Gretchen spends much of her time with Spanish speaking visitors to the community as well as frequently traveling to Mexico to work with Spanish speaking communities.Gardening
Guest Instructor: Peggy Doney
Peggy enjoys spinning, knitting, silk fusion, and dyeing. For many years, she has been discovering color recipes using triad, gradient, and monochromatic studies. These studies allow exploration in hue as well as value and support Peggy’s special interest in making accurate recipes that are starting points for matching colors in nature. The yarns that Peggy creates celebrate the texture and luster of a wide variety of natural and synthetic fibers, and they give a medium to combine those textures with the color she loves. Peggy’s skill with the dye pot led to a stint as one of the regular dyers for Treenway Silks.
When Hailey first saw pottery demonstrated at age 9, she was hooked. Not to be daunted by her first project, a self-proclaimed flop, Hailey has been perfecting her skills ever since. At age 18 she began a four-year apprenticeship with Homestead Pottery, where she continues to be employed. She demonstrates pottery skills for thousands of visitors who visit the Homestead Craft Village every year, as well as producing fine pottery pieces for restaurants and retail shops.Pottery
Hannah began making soap 17 years ago at her home in Central Texas. Over the years, she has continued making basic soap for her family and has expanded her skills to make specialty soaps with a variety of minerals and other ingredients to add color and texture. For the last 7 years she has been teaching soap making with the Ploughshare, where she shares her enjoyment of this craft and has inspired many others to take up soap making.Soapmaking
Hannah grew up in multiple foreign countries including England and Panama. She now lives on her family’s 67-acre farm and tends large gardens, integrating fruits, vegetables, flowers and herbs, and saving open-pollinated seeds. She regularly makes a variety of cheeses from her family’s herd of Nubian goats. Hannah inspires many students at The Ploughshare with her experiential knowledge in gardening, homesteading and cheesemaking.Gardening
Guest Instructor: Jason Collingwood
With over 30 years experience as a professional rug weaver Jason has produced 1000’s of rugs for corporate and individual clients the world over. Jason has collaborated with architects, interior designers and fashion houses. In addition to weaving custom made rugs, Jason offers a comprehensive range of rug weaving classes, either at his workshop in the UK, or in numerous worldwide locations.Weaving
Jenni McCormick has been making pottery for nearly twenty years later. She consistently produces high-end ceramics in a number of different styles. As an instructor for The Ploughshare Institute, Jenni teaches a variety of pottery classes throughout much of the year, and oversees the staff of potters at The Potter’s House. Jenni has recently begun focusing her efforts on mastering an ancient Japanese style of pottery known as Raku and has also been experimenting with custom teapots for Cafe Homestead. A more in-depth look at Jenni’s journey in pottery can also be found on the Homestead Pottery website.Pottery
Guest Instructor: Joanne Hall
Joanne is a nationally known weaver who has been weaving since 1968 and teaching weaving since 1971. One of her main interests is Swedish weaves, both decorative weaves and drall weaves. Joanne is well known as a tapestry weaver and teacher. She also teaches rigid heddle and other types of weaving on small looms.Weaving
Joe began raising chickens over 20 years ago with a small backyard flock and a desire to feed his family. For the past several years, Joe has run a family-owned farm where he hatches and raises chicks, started pullets, guineas, turkeys, geese and ducks. One of Joe’s interests is seeking to raise poultry more sustainably, both by being able to reproduce poultry on the farm and by learning how to provide feed for the birds from the farm.Poultry
Joe Slack has 30 years’ experience crafting wood. Having played guitar for 40 years, he continues to play and also teach guitar lessons. Joe teaches guitar making through seminars and workshops here at the woodworking school. His goal is to help each student make a quality instrument and continue guitar making at home.
In 2006 Jonathan Schwennesen had an opportunity to begin an informal apprenticeship at the age of 17. He spent 4 years working as an apprentice in the Heritage School of Woodworking, learning the fundamental skills needed to build custom and speculative pieces of furniture.
Next he began working for Homestead Heritage Furniture building custom furniture for different clients, gaining additional experience and knowledge making Windsor chairs, federal-style cabinets, clocks, workbenches, sleigh beds and even a waterwheel! It was during this time that he began to show an interest in teaching. Jonathan became a teacher’s assistant in 2009. He quickly began gaining the knowledge and skill to teach some classes himself. Now he spends most of his time working for the woodworking school. “My desire is to teach others an important aspect of life: working with your hands.”Woodworking
Born and raised in England, Kay Toombs first learned from her mother how to knit, at age 10. A former Baylor University professor, Kay holds a PhD in Philosophy and speaks nationally on issues regarding illness and suffering in the context of intentional Christian Community. A frequently published author, she’s penned numerous medical journal articles, as well as publishing several books including, The Human Dimension, Thinking Outside the Box, Living and Dying with Dignity, and Living at the Boundary.
You’ll find Kay most afternoons at the Homestead Fibercrafts studio, where she teaches knitting and rigid heddle weaving classes, crafts custom pieces, and oversees the “Elevenses” (daily tea time) for weaver’s, knitters, spinners, and whoever else happens to wander in.Knitting
Krista first learned simple hand sewing skills at the age of 5, and then learned to sew on a foot powered treadle machine at age 9. In her teenage years she began custom sewing for friends and neighbors and creating a line of clothing patterns. She also helped develop the Ploughshare’s sewing curriculum. She has been teaching sewing classes at Ploughshare for the last 11 years. Krista especially enjoys crafting fine tailored garments from hand-woven fabric.Sewing
At the age of 9, Mark’s interest in woodworking began, which led him to begin an apprenticeship with Homestead Heritage Furniture at the age of 17. In his own shop he has built many pieces of furniture from small dovetail boxes to large 10′ round conference tables. Most of his work has been for clients who have ordered custom pieces for their homes and offices. Mark has been building custom furniture for the last 20 years and is now the manager of the Heritage Furniture business.
Mark enjoys making hand tools and jigs that can simplify the building process. He has taught children how to shape simple utensils like wooden spoons and cutting boards as well as other larger projects. “Seeing the young grow to maturity in their craft is what I appreciate.”Woodworking
Martha’s shop and gallery are located in the restored 19th century Settler’s Cabin on the Ploughshare campus. With more than 15 years experience making baskets, Martha is adept at working with various types of materials and has mastered numerous basket designs and techniques. Of note are her woven southern pine needle baskets–combining function and beauty–which have been featured in various artisan shows.Basketry
For over 25 years, Matthew has enjoyed raising poultry with his family. Over the past few years, he has begun breeding a flock of Black Australorp chickens, working to adapt them as for use on a family homestead, to produce eggs and meat and to hatch and raise offspring.Poultry
Melissa has been teaching others to make bread for nearly 25 years. She’s taught students as young as age 5 and as old as 97 and believes anyone can learn the skill. Also an avid guitar player, she bought her first guitar as a teenager, with money she earned baking. Now a mother of six, she also helps her husband John run their family feed business: Texas Natural Feeds.Breadmaking
Rachel has been weaving for over 20 years, as well as sewing and knitting. She’s also an accomplished spinner, having won numerous awards and medals. Rachel’s studied with noted instructor Joanne Hall as well as with English weaver Jason Collingwood.Weaving
For more than a decade Rebekah has been teaching soft and hard cheese making classes at The Ploughshare. She started making cheese in small batches at home and later honed her craft at Brazos Valley Cheese, which during her time there, won multiple awards from the American Cheese Society. She’s also studied under renowned French cheese maker Ivan Larcher. Rebekah lives near campus with her husband Caleb, a blacksmithing instructor at The Ploughshare, and two sons.Cheesemaking
Ruth teaches Canning and Preserving and assists with the Bread Making and Weaving classes. The daughter of Gardening instructor Butch Tindell, Ruth has grown up in the classroom and finds great fulfillment in being able to impart craft and homesteading skills to others. She lives on a nearby grass fed cattle ranch with her husband Peter and their two young children.Breadmaking Canning
Sarah lives on her family’s farm, “Double Yew Family Farm” just north of Waco, where she can often be found in her kitchen preparing their fresh produce or making cheese from their rich, Nubian goat milk and experimenting with lacto-fermentation. She also makes functional baskets and inspires students at The Ploughshare with all of these skills and crafts.Cheesemaking
Stan Beckworth began his woodworking career in 1983. His wide experience in woodworking enables him to teach as a practicing master craftsman. He began woodworking because of a desire to work with his hands and pass some hand skills to his children. Some of the classes he teaches are the Finishing class, Relief Carving class, Foundational Classes and the Advanced Furniture courses, such as the Chest of Drawers and Rocking Chair classes.
Stan has spent a lot of time learning about furniture finishes, as well as relief carving, studying with Mary May, a renowned woodcarver in South Carolina.
When Stan isn’t teaching, he runs a small remodeling business at his home and builds and refinishes furniture for different clients. He has been commissioned to make furniture for several congressmen as well as refinishing furniture for past presidents. ”Being able to pass on practical skills that are useful for everyday application is what I love to do.”
Sue has, for the last seven years, managed and overseen the Homestead Fibercrafts shop in addition to teaching classes on spinning with the drop spindle and Tahkli. She’s studied with master handspinner Patsy Zawistoski, as well as attended classes at the Vavstuga Swedish Weaving School. She lives nearby with her husband Gary on their homestead, where she makes her own cheese and enriches the lives of her numerous grandchildren.Spinning
Tara MartinezFamily Goat
Theresa has been perfecting her sourdough recipes for more than 20 years, both at home, and now with her grown children in their family baking business, Artisan Ovens. A self-described amateur bacteriologist, Theresa especially enjoys using sourdough starter from various places around the world, as the different properties of each region’s starters will impart a unique flavor into the bread. Theresa is especially attached to her brick oven, that creates, among other things, some of the best pizza in central Texas.Breadmaking Knitting
Tim grew up in Quebec, where a family friend first got him excited about bees. He started beekeeping at age 12, when his family acquired eight hives. Tim and his wife, Elizabeth, are also avid gardeners.Beekeeping
You can find Yerusha most days at Artisan Ovens, where she’s been baking sought after loaves for nearly 15 years. A huge fan of sourdough breads, Yerusha loves the aroma and textures she can achieve, as well as it’s health benefits and the process that is ideal for busy homesteading families.Breadmaking
Yohannah began weaving on a rigid heddle loom when she was ten. At thirteen, she apprenticed with Ann Chase, of Martha’s Vineyard, where she was living at the time. Using the techniques she learned, Yohannah began weaving and selling small items to neighbors and at craft fairs on Martha’s Vineyard island. Over the next five years, she saved enough to buy her first floor loom and three Corridale sheep. She continues this business to this day, selling custom weaving through the Homestead Gift Barn and Homestead Fiber Crafts. Yohannah has taken classes with Jason Collingwood, Becky Ashendon, Joanne Hall, Su Buttler and Jette Vandermeiden.
Yohanna has been recognized over the years with several awards from the Contemporary Handweavers of Texas guild, including an Award of Excellence, and Best of Show.Weaving