The rigid heddle loom is a relatively simple machine. Jennifer Baum, The Weaving Shed's owner and a juried fiber artist, likes it because a beginning student can set it up and start a scarf within 45 minutes. Along with the loom's simplicity, Jen appreciates the therapeutic value of its rhythmic, back-and-forth cadence. As students work the loom to steadily pull fiber threads into a hand-woven item, they also shed the stress of their day. Jen sees these transformations—both in the progress of the project and the demeanor of the student—as she guides the technique and lends tips to the up to eight students that attend each class in the newly-expanded studio.
Along with classes, The Weaving Shed also spearheads a Farm to Yarn program with local farms. The natural or hand-dyed sheep's wool or alpaca fleece becomes a sustainable, specialty fiber for weaving, knitting, felting, crotchet, and spinning projects. This interest in cultivating local fibers hits especially close to Jen's home, AKA Sunny Knoll Farm, where, with her husband and children, she helps raise an ever-growing alpaca herd. She describes the alpaca as a very "zen-lifestyle animal," even though scientific journals refer to them as "respiring shag carpets." Along with laughing at the "fun family adventure" that the experience has been, she also praises the hypoallergenic qualities of the fleece and its 22 naturally occurring colors.
Stacey Sparrow has a knack for teaching art. A graduate of Massachusetts College of Art with a teaching certification, Sparrow has been helping students locate their inner Rembrandts for a decade while also creating her own commissioned works. With the help of a dedicated staff, she helms workshops and classes for adults and youngsters alike, rolling out specialty sessions such as vacation art programs that study the techniques and quirks of various artists, such as Picasso’s Blue Period and Michelangelo's tendency to sleep on the ceiling.
New Hampshire Bartending School offers aspiring libation-concocters the training to become professional bartenders and veteran mixologists a chance to hone in their craft. With the first deal, you'll get 32 hours of classes at New Hampshire Bartending School's premises, learning the ins and outs of drink-making from instructors with more than 30 years of bartending experience. This course can be completed either during the day Monday–Thursday, in the evenings Monday–Friday, over four Saturdays, or over two full weekends. The second deal compacts the course into an intensive two-day on-premises class, (currently scheduled from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays), while the third deal gets you a similar experience off-premises, with the focus solely on drink-making and lacking only the unlimited practice time offered on-site at the school. Upcoming off-premises courses will be held in Orono, Portsmouth, and Concord, and they will take place on Friday evenings and Saturdays during the day. With these courses, you'll get inside info on the secret to concocting a soul-reviving martini, extensive training on how to serve alcohol safely, access to the government's underground vodka reserves, plus the confidence to create more than 100 drinks on your own.
Inside Bikram Yoga’s two practice spaces, instructors crank up the thermostat to sultry temperatures to loosen up students’ muscles during 90-minute yoga sessions, helping increase flexibility and range of motion while building muscle tone. Instructors pay special attention to coaching newbies during each class, teaching Bikram’s 26 postures and two breathing exercises to help students of all fitness levels stretch out joints or baby injuries and appendages put out of commission due to hostile negotiations during teamwork-building human knots. Each instructor trained directly under Bikram Choudhury—the creator of Bikram Yoga—to ensure that pupils receive safe, easy-to-follow instruction that bolsters health and clears minds.