A Taste of the Folk School, Interview with Jewelry Instructor Barbara Joiner

If you have been thinking of taking a class at the Folk School but weren’t sure which class to take, then A Taste of the Folk School, July 28–August 2, is for you. Sample four different subjects in four different studios including jewelry, photography, marquetry, and marbling.

Joe Clift & Barbara Joiner will teach you to saw, file and solder sterling silver as you make a ring and set a stone. Learn cell phone photography techniques with J. Warren Berry both around our beautiful campus and the studio. Try marquetry, and make a design with wood veneer with Beth Woody & Charlie Brown in Woodworking Studio. Explore the art of marbling paper in our Book & Paper Arts Studio with Judith Beers.

Learn more about the Jewelry segment of Taste of the Folk School with Barbara Joiner in our interview below!

JCCFS: Tell us more about your upcoming class, “A Taste of the Folk School” from July 28 to August 2. It’s for all levels, correct?

BJ: Yes, all levels are welcome. Beginners, intermediate and advanced students should enjoy this class. During this week you will get a literal taste of Folk School magic as you make four projects in four studios! Get great photos on the school’s magical campus and learn to edit them using your cellphone. Try basic jewelry making skills including sawing, filing, and soldering making a finished sterling silver ring. Use natural wood veneers of different types and textures to create decorative images. Experience the wonder of marbling and create your own supply of beautiful papers, along with ideas for how to use them.

JCCFS: Tell us a little about yourself. What’s your background in  your medium? How did you get started?

BJ: Art classes were offered when I was in high school and that’s where my passion began. It continued when I took a year of classes in college and then grew from there. For several years I was a clay artist in Florida making and selling my pots. Clay can be physically stressful on the body and from there I made the switch over to jewelry. I have been working at the Folk School as the Jewelry Creative Program Advisor since 1987.

JCCFS: Tell us more about your class’s specific technique or process

BJ: I will be teaching the Jewelry portion of the Taste of the Folk School which is a class concept that I came up with. A Taste of the Folk School allows students who aren’t sure yet what medium they want to focus on for a week or its perfect for students that love making all different artforms. It’s a great way to experiment as beginners as well. This round will feature the Jewelry Studio, Woodworking Studio, Book Arts Studio and Photography Studio. In my portion students will learn the basics of making a beautiful sterling silver ring. Cutting metal, soldering, inlay and so on.

JCCFS: What can students expect to leave your class with?

BJ: Students can expect to leave each class with a finished object. In Jewelry they will leave with a sterling silver ring with a stone setting. There will be different stones to choose from in a range of colors. These same students will also go home with marbled art papers, landscape photos taken on their cellphones and wood veneer landscape to hang on the wall.

Examples of class projects!

Barbara in her studio

One of Barbara’s jewelry piece, made with turquoise and sterling silver.

A student working on their ring!

Finished rings!

JCCFS: What is your favorite aspect or part of the Folk School? What do you most look forward to when coming back to teach on our campus?

BJ: I love the people and the classes. I have a wonderful group of instructors that I work with that teach time and time again the Jewelry Studio and have developed great friendships with each of these individuals. As well, we see many new and returning students every week here at the Folk School and I’ve had the pleasure of making many long-lasting friendships with those students as well.

JCCFS: Where do you draw inspiration from for your work?

BJ: Inspiration for my work comes from two different sources. One is from nature. In Florida I was surrounded by the beaches and took inspiration from the beautiful seaforms. Now I live in an entirely different and equally beautiful environment in the mountains. The second place that I draw inspiration from is the material itself. I enjoy playing with the scraps and shapes and see how they work together to create a finished piece. This allows spontaneity in my work and keeps it from being contrived.

JCCFS: What’s one piece or craft object you’ve made recently that you are proud of, and why?

BJ: In 1981 my ceramic work was accepted into the collection of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA. I still have the sister piece to that work which is a large-scale raku piece that lives in my home. I am proud of both of those pieces.

JCCFS: What tips would you give a student or aspiring craftsperson? Anything you wish you had known earlier in your career?

BJ: Pursue what you love. I recognized that early in life and I stuck with it.

JCCFS: Anything else we should know about The Taste of the Folk School and your Jewelry portion of the class?

BJ: A Taste of the Folk School is being held in 4 of the great studios that we have on the campus. This is a rare opportunity for students to get to work in more than just one well-equipped studio for the week.

The Woodworking Studio – Built in 1945, this beautiful old stone building features a large room full of saws, drills, planers, routers, sanding belts, finishing tables, and many other helpful tools and supplies. Students can spread out in an adjoining room containing numerous spacious workstations.

The Photography Studio – Harvest Room in the Orchard House, originally constructed in the 1950s as a residence. The Photography & Writing Studio offers students a quiet classroom space equipped with high-speed internet along with Mac and PC computers. The studio’s large central table is ideal for coming together to review images or discuss your latest draft.

The Book Arts Studio – A state-of-the-art facility completed in 2017, this spacious, well-lit building is the home of all Book & Paper Arts, Calligraphy, Marbling, and Printmaking classes. In addition to 2,800 square feet of indoor workspace, it includes a large open deck and covered porch that can be used as work areas in the warmer months. We have recently been given a donation of 10 new, handmade marbling tanks.

The Jewelry Studio – D.X. Ross Jewelry & Metals Studio: This rustic building, built of locally-grown pine in the early 1970s is well-equipped for jewelry making. It has been modernized and expanded in recent years, and contains saw frames, mandrels of all sorts, hammers, anvils, burnishers, rockers, pushers, scapers, vice grips, crucible, drill bits, engraver, dapping blocks, clamps, punches, awls, flat rolling mill, hydraulic press, drill press, bench grinder, belt sander and more. In 2012, the studio was named in memory of D.X. Ross, a wonderful jewelry and enameling instructor, and the addition to the studio was named in honor of Alice Ahlers, who has taken over 200 classes at the Folk School.

J.Warren Berry’s phone photography image.

Putting the finishing touches on their piece.

Colorful marbled papers hanging to dry!

Upcoming Class with Instructors: Joe Clift & Barbara Joiner, Judith Beers, J. Warren Berry, Beth Woody & Charlie Brown

A Taste of  the Folk School

July  28-August 2nd, 2024

Get a literal taste of Folk School magic as you make four projects in four studios! Get great photos on the school’s magical campus and learn to edit them using your cellphone. Try basic jewelry making skills including sawing, filing, and soldering making a finished sterling silver ring. Use natural wood veneers of different types and textures to create decorative images. Experience the wonder of marbling and create your own supply of beautiful papers, along with ideas for how to use them.

Meet the Instructors

Joe Clift studied metalsmithing and jewelry at the Memphis College of Art, and received an MFA in metals from Southern Illinois University. He has worked as an independent artist-metalsmith; designed and manufactured jewelry in a commercial setting; and has taught jewelry making, lapidary, and bronze casting. Joe’s recent explorations in jewelry and metalsmithing include combining steel with precious metals, fabricating container forms, and enameling.

Barbara Joiner has taught clay and jewelry classes for over 40 years. She studied clay at the University of Illinois, silversmithing at Indiana University, and she has an MFA degree from Southern Illinois University. Barbara’s work is in many collections, including the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and has won numerous awards throughout the U.S. She is a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and is the Folk School’s Resident Artist in Jewelry & Metals.

Judith Beers retired from teaching young children and now devotes her time to book arts – teaching, constructing, repairing, restoring, and preserving books – at her own bindery and alongside Dea Sasso at the Light of Day Bindery, both in Asheville, NC. An advocate of lifelong learning, Judith continues to experiment with marbling, papermaking, box making, and printmaking. She has been teaching at the Folk School since 2010, first as an assistant instructor, progressing to instructor in 2012, and now teaching several times per year.

J. Warren Berry is the author of and photographer for Photography: Three Steps to Better Pictures. His formal training includes biology, teaching, and nature photography. Using this background, he helps his students learn the art of photography by focusing on their subjects of interest. From nature to rustic architecture to small items and more, he enjoys watching his students develop their skills and their photographs.

Beth Woody has been involved in making, demonstrating, and teaching crafts for more than fifty years, with the past twenty years doing marquetry. She has been a member of the Village of Yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair since 1969 and continues to exhibit and demonstrate marquetry there. She is also active in the Marquetarians of the Carolinas group. Beth enjoys teaching classes as well as individuals.

Charlie Brown has enjoyed woodworking since an early age. A retired civil engineer, he has spent the past several years actively involved in woodworking projects and clubs. He is the current president of the Western Piedmont Woodcrafters Club and is former president of Marquetarians of the Carolinas. Charlie enjoys making furniture and frequently incorporates inlay and marquetry pictures when possible.

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