Cumming Nature Center > Programs & Events

Workshops at CNC

Escape to the woods and use your hands to create, cultivate, or learn something new during our workshop series.

  • Cumming Nature Center
  • Ongoing

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Explore new skills from plein air painting to canning vegetables in a workshop at Cumming Nature Center!

Our workshops are designed to create a supportive space for talented teachers and craftspeople to share their knowledge through fellowship and intensive instruction. Classes are relaxed, informative, and recognize the value in heritage skills and place-based knowledge. Past workshops have included spoon carving, native gardening blacksmithing, food preservation, pysanky, and more.

Leave your screen behind, escape to the woods, and use your hands to create, cultivate, or learn something new this year!

plein air painting | FOod preservation | BLACKSMITHING | Weaving


september 23 | PAINTING BY THE POND

9:30am – 12:30pm

Join us for a relaxing and creative morning outdoors as we paint a quiet pond set beneath the changing leaves of Cumming Nature Center. This plein air painting class will cover the basic tools and techniques needed to paint outdoors, including how to set up a palette and choose a subject. Beginner painters will have the option to use a pre-sketched canvas as the foundation for their painting. After a short demonstration, participants will enjoy one-on-one instruction and interaction with instructor Victoria Brzustowicz as they work at their own pace.

This class is suitable for beginner and more experienced artists. All tools and materials will be provided.


Victoria Brzustowicz is an award-winning painter and illustrator. A native of Rochester NY, Brzustowicz graduated from Wells College with a BA in Studio Art. At Wells, she studied with the painter Bill Roberts.

Brzustowicz focused on abstract painting for most of her career, but in 2015 she was introduced to the techniques of painting alla prima through classes with noted plein air painter Carol L. Douglas. Her work explores the line between abstraction and representation, with an emphasis on surface and mark-making.

Brzustowicz is co-founder and chair of the Greater Rochester Plein Air Painters, an inclusive, active group of painters that get together throughout the year to paint outside of the studio. She is affiliated with Flower City Arts Center where she teaches drawing, painting, and linoleum block printing, and the Art Stop, in Penfield, NY where she teaches oil painting.


SEPTEMBER 24 & October 29 | CANNING for beginners


Are you interested in canning but don’t know where to start? This is the workshop for you!  Learn the difference between boiling water bath canning and pressure canning, see the tools used for canning, learn about the process of preparing a jar for the canner and see many examples of canned goods. 

In this hands-on program, participants will prepare a jar of vegetables and process it in a pressure canner. Each participant will take home their jar of vegetables. This program is taught by Barb Brenner, Cornell Cooperative Extension certified Master Food Preserver.


Food preservation has been a part of Barb Brenner’s entire life: from helping her Mom can and freeze, to 4-H activities as a teen, to preserving her own garden harvest as an adult, to teaching food preservation classes for the NYS DEC’s “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” workshop and other local workshops.

Barb has earned Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Food Preserver Certification and she is passionate about food preservation and sharing techniques, tips and samples. Her daily meals are made from the contents of canning jars, freezer containers or vacuum sealed bags/jars. Fruits, vegetables and herbs are dehydrated for storage or for camping trips. Cabbage and cucumber pickles ferment in crocks and fruits harvested from her property are turned into juice. She lives in Lima, NY and has a food preservation informational/demonstration booth at the Lima’s Farmers’ Market.


SEPTEMBER 10, 16, & October 22

Times vary

Join instructor Jonathan Bernard to learn the art of blacksmithing in small-group, hands-on training sessions at Cumming Nature Center. Classes for all skill levels will be offered in September and October, ranging from the Fundamentals of Blacksmithing to Advanced Knife-Making courses. Each participant will go home with an object they created during the class.


Jonathan Bernard began blacksmithing at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, MA where he volunteered from 2000-2013 in their Colonial-era smithing shop. In 2012 Jonathan purchased a portable forge and farrier’s anvil, and began demonstrating at school programs as part of the 9th Mass Light Artillery, a Civil War reenactment unit. In 2014 he moved to the Rochester, New York, area and currently works with school groups as part of the 1st NY Light Artillery Civil War reenactment unit. For the past three years he’s been invited by the Gettysburg National Parks service to the Spangler Farm site for presentation of his craft with the unit’s traveling forge wagon.  Jonathan takes great joy in teaching blacksmithing to people of all ages and skill levels to ensure that the craft lives on.


OctoBER 15 | Learn to Weave: Tapestry & Frame Weaving


Explore the basics of weaving with a simple frame loom. During this 4-hour, hands-on class, expert instructor Tami Fuller will teach participants how to warp, select materials for texture and strength, and offer instruction on tabby, twining, and selected intermediate techniques as you build a small wall hanging.

This class will be held outdoors, weather permitting, in order to draw inspiration from the natural world and provide a restful setting for creating beautiful woven art. Instruction will include weaving time, finishing, and hanging. Students will leave with beginner weaving knowledge, along with a completed and mounted fiber art piece.

This class is suitable for beginner or for beginner/intermediate students. All supplies will be included. Use of a student loom is provided during the class, with the option to purchase the loom at the end if desired.


Tami Fuller is a second-generation fiber artist and works as an educator and working artist out of East Aurora. Her work integrates the traditional foundations of hand-constructed processes with modern technique. Her workshops are designed with an eye toward revitalizing and modernizing fiber, ensuring the continuation of these skill sets by exposing the art form to new people within new contexts. She was trained in ebru marbling on fabric in her youth and has refined her process on paper and on silk. She teaches retreats and workshops throughout the North East and the Pacific Northwest, where her family has a large sheep farm that specializes in breed conservation for rare or at-risk breeds of sheep.

Her work has received awards from NY Sheep and Wool and the Carnegie Art Center. In 2022, she was defined as a WNY artist culture-maker and a recipient of the NY Council on the Arts “Creatives Rebuild NY” grant, tasked with rebuilding arts access post-COVID. She has shown in several solo and group shows locally and her work can be found in collections in the United States and Australia.

About The Event

  • Cumming Nature Center
  • Ongoing