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.
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.
The licensed instructors at Noble AirVentures LLC build bridges into the sky for aspiring aviators through programs that range from introductory flights to pilot-certification courses. Students learn to confidently take off, land, and bank at the helm of a Cessna 172 aircraft, each carrying modern avionics equipment and rigorously inspected to exceed FAA safety standards. When not teaching new generations of pilots, the team takes passengers aloft on photo flights, which give professional and amateur photographers the chance to capture images of the Boston skyline and Fenway Park or produce an accurate answer key to this year's corn maze.
Shrewsbury Health & Racquet Club fosters health and fitness within a spacious, multifaceted facility featuring circuit fitness equipment, swimming pools, saunas, and group classes. The health club's team of personal trainers coaches clients of all ages and backgrounds, with special accommodations for members with chronic pain, osteoporosis, and diabetes. With the personal-training session and nutrition consultation, a certified fitness expert will consult with you to formulate a refined dietary plan, strategize a workout routine, and familiarize you with the center's anaerobic and cardio circuit equipment. Spike tennis projectiles on one of the health club's courts or burn fat in a group exercise class, such as cardio-pumping boot camp, Zumba, or a spinning session set to motivational tunes from bicycle-horn quartets. Shrewsbury's newly renovated outdoor and heated indoor pools give clients full-body workouts and cool, relaxing wind-downs, and the steam rooms release stresses, excess water weight, and stubborn collarbone wrinkles.