01 Apr Meet the Work Study: Session 1, 2022
The Folk School’s Work Study program is an excellent opportunity for those looking to live, learn, and work at the Folk School. During these sessions, half of the weeks are spent working on various projects in service of the Folk School, and half are spent taking weeklong classes.
Work Study students are provided housing and meals during their stay and take a variety of classes with tuition expenses covered. They become a vital part of campus culture while they’re here, immersing themselves in the Folk School community through Brasstown carving, concerts, dances, and other public programs.
Meet some of our Work Studies from 2022’s Session 1 in the interviews below! Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to meet more Work Studies throughout the year.
Lisa Eckenrode from Asheville, NC
What brought you to the Folk School? I went to Penland for two weeks in Summer 2019 and, after that, was looking for other craft schools in the area. I saw the Folk School’s Work Study program and initially thought two months would be too long for me, but I decided to apply and see what would happen.
One highlight from your experience so far? Weaving! Learning to weave Sashiko patterns was exciting. (Lisa wove the scarf she’s wearing in the photo.) Working with glass was also a highlight. The instructors I’ve had for all my classes, they’re good people. And you can feel it in the room.
Advice for someone who’s looking to come to the Folk School? This place is all about a tight-knit community but there are plenty of opportunities to be on your own and have that restorative time. I enjoy the freedom of being able to go back to Asheville on weekends, or the grocery store when I need to, or simply walk the nature trails in the afternoon.
Joe Kuttler from Baltimore, MD
What brought you to the Folk School? I’ve done some farming before, so I was excited to work in the Folk School’s garden and see how they do things, learn new techniques, and strengthen the skills I already had.
One highlight from your experience so far? I really enjoyed my blacksmithing class with Mike Dixon and Lance Zeigler. I had never worked with metal before and I ended up having a great time. I made some cheese knives, a bunch of bottle openers, and a coat rack.
Advice for someone who’s looking to come to the Folk School? In everyday life, it’s hard to find a community like this. It’s immersive – you’re working together, sharing meals, and spending your free time with one another. I’ve enjoyed it. It’s special when you can be in a place like this with people you enjoy being around.
Stacey H. from Portsmouth, NH
What brought you to the Folk School? I have family living in Hiawassee and was looking for opportunities to be near them for a while. I was creative when I was younger: I loved to draw, paint, write poetry, and, later, I minored in art in college. As life progressed, I stopped making art as much. It felt serendipitous when I found the Folk School’s Work Study program. I could reconnect with my creative side while also having quality time with family.
One highlight from your experience so far? The fortuity that got me into Jeanne Brady & Christa Schoenbrodt’s Exotic Cloth: Block Carving and Printing on Fabric class. I had never done anything like that before, and after the first day, I fell in love. I never even knew I would love something like that. The instructors were great, and the energy of everyone in that class was so inspiring.
Advice for someone who’s looking to come to the Folk School? When planning my classes, a staff member told me, “Just be open to whatever classes might present themselves to you.” Embracing that attitude led me to try block printing which combines so many things that I like. I would have never thought of working with that craft before coming here, so being open led to some pleasant surprises!
About Our Work Study Program
The Work Study program offers a unique opportunity for people to learn, volunteer, and participate in the Folk School community for an extended period. During the Work Study program, students receive housing and meals during their stay and take a range of classes with tuition covered. They primarily contribute through work in the garden, grounds, and/or the dining hall. Program sessions include 6-12 people at a time and last from 6-8 weeks.