Jody Frey ‘10, faculty member in Environmental Humanities, is a triple alumna of Sterling College. “I’ve had every degree except [from] the boy’s school,” she laughed. As someone with a Grassroots certificate, an AA and BA, and now a faculty member who teaches fiber arts and farmstead arts, she has a unique ability to track the changes at Sterling over the years, as well as how some things have stayed the same.
Frey got her Grassroots certificate and stayed on to get her AA in 1996. After working on various farms in southern Vermont, she came back to Sterling to get her BA in Sustainable Agriculture in 2010. From Sterling, she got her individualized MA from Goddard College in the intersection of place, teaching, and art.
Frey is adamant about her role in the classroom. “I don’t teach people what I do; I support people in what they want to do,” she said. “The flavor of the [fiber arts] class is inquiry-based learning. I teach some techniques. There’s a lot of latitude for creativity.
“My role,” she concluded, “is to guide students in their own development as artists or as craftspeople.”
She noted that students are fascinated with the process of starting with raw fiber—or, in some cases, a live sheep—and ending with a finished piece of art or a useful piece. “It’s very godlike to do art . . . you can use unexpected ways to change the world, to be able to surprise and delight.”
She described the farmstead arts as “everything else!” Stoddard noted that farmstead arts has the same focus as fiber arts, but using different media. Classes have focused on basketry, beeswax work, stone polishing, and other media.
Again, Frey lets the students develop what they want to do with the resources available at Sterling College. “Supporting students doing independent endeavors is the best thing we do,” she said. “We’re doing it better and better.” •
Jody Frey has a blog at farmerjo.wordpress.com.