Announcing our 2024 Traditional Craft Mentorship Program

Announcing our 2024 Traditional Craft Mentorship Program! These learning-intensive, two-week residencies give emerging artists the opportunity to learn from master artisans and connect with their peers in a joyful, community-driven environment. Small groups of mentees will participate in focused, two-week sessions that enhance their interests, knowledge, and skills in traditional Appalachian craft, music, or dance. Areas of study for 2023 include blacksmithing, natural dyeing and surface design, and timber framing. All mentorships will take place from February 18 – March 2, 2024.

Applications for our 2024 Mentorship program are now closed.

Blacksmithing Mentorship (February 18 – March 2, 2024)

with Beth Holmberg & Tal Harris

The Folk School’s blacksmithing program has been a cornerstone of our campus for decades. Blacksmiths from across the world have covered our 270-acre property with sculpture, forged hardware, and most importantly, their knowledge. Fully immerse yourself in this Appalachian tradition for two weeks while receiving individual attention from skilled blacksmithing mentors Beth Holmberg and Tal Harris.

Mentees will focus on strengthening the solid fundamentals that will keep you forging better and longer and on cultivating good ergonomics that get you hitting harder with less effort and fewer injuries. We’ll cover the basics of design and drawing so you can develop your own ideas and communicate them more successfully. We’ll also work on forging to dimension with a focus on forge welding, traditional joinery, and making the tools related to your project needs. Learn the traditional skills you need for your modern work in this immersive program. Intermediate blacksmiths are welcome to apply.

Natural Dyeing and Surface Design Mentorship (February 18 – March 2, 2024)

Joyce Tromba & Pat Armstrong

Expand your knowledge of the world of natural dyeing as we apply permanent natural dye recipes and methodology to an array of natural fibers, fabrics, and yarns. Spend the first week focusing on cellulosic plant fibers, such as cotton and linen, and the second on the animal protein fibers such as wool and silk. Use sustainably harvested, regional and global dyestuffs and draw from historical, Appalachian, and global traditions to create a rainbow of color. Explore a wide variety of natural dyes from indigo, madder, and cochineal, to mimosa, coreopsis, sumac, and more. Assemble a set of records and samples to deepen your overall understanding of the natural dyeing process (scouring, mordanting, extraction, dyeing, modifying, and finishing) and its variables.

In addition, mentees will explore various natural dye applications, according to personal and group interest. Topics could include hand painting, surface design techniques, mordant choices, making lake pigments, growing a dye garden, setting up a personal studio, and much more. Mentees will be invited to create an individual project(s) and undertake self-directed experimentation with the guidance of experienced mentors. Ideal candidates will have previous experience with dyeing and surface design using natural dyes and/or fibers.

Timber Framing Mentorship (February 18 – March 2, 2024)

John Campbell

Spend two weeks learning timber framing techniques using both hand tools and power equipment. Get hands-on experience building a timber-framed structure for the Folk School’s garden. Ideal candidates will have previous experience with woodworking, timber framing, and/or carpentry, and an interest in gaining deeper, hands-on knowledge of the craft. A personal connection to Appalachia and a desire to contribute to the legacy and infrastructure of the Folk School are also a plus. All tools and equipment will be provided.

About the Traditional Craft Mentorship Program

The Traditional Craft Mentorship Program is an opportunity for emerging artists to spend time at the Folk School learning from master artisans. Small groups of participants will join in focused sessions that enhance their interests, knowledge, and skills in traditional Appalachian craft, music, or dance.

Structured teaching and mentorship time will follow our standard class schedule (9 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.).

Hear from previous Mentorship Program participants

Gabe Strand headshot

Gabe Strand, Chairmaking

Gabe was invited by the American Craft Council to contribute an Object Story for Atlanta/Southeast Craft Week. Learn about the settee he made during the Mentorship Program.

Sparrow Kettner playing the banjo

Sparrow Pants, Music

Sparrow’s episode of the American Songcatcher podcast provides an audio journal of her mentee experience. Lots of history and great music complement her personal story.

Mentorship student at the loom

Margaret Duggar, Weaving

Margaret Dugger, one of our Weaving mentees, told us how the program “left my heart renewed.” Read Margaret’s wonderful story about her experience on campus using the link below.

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