Stories

Under my tree this year is another tree and it looks like this: [caption id="attachment_14238" align="aligncenter" width="499"]Tree_IMG_6238 My Christmas tree book & box[/caption] In the Book Arts class, "Ornamental Books and Boxes for the Holidays" with Dea Sasso we tackled three ambitious projects for the Long Weekend. The first project was the tree pictured above with a fancy triangular box. Dea bought a wonderful assortment of papers, book cloth, and leather and everyone picked a combination of colors. My tree fits into a blue box with gold tooled stars and a tree on the front.

[caption id="attachment_13951" align="aligncenter" width="600"]WholeBird_CP5_4104 Juicy, tender duck breast in the cast iron pot[/caption] Halloween weekend brought delicious dismemberment to the Folk School. Don’t panic! All the butchery occurred under the expert tutelage of Mark Rosenstein in the Cooking Studio for the class “Whole Bird Weekend,” where students learned advanced techniques for preparing duck, chicken, and turkey for maximum flavor and juiciness. [caption id="attachment_13953" align="aligncenter" width="600"]WholeBird_CP5_4134 Mark demonstrates how to debone a turkey leg[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13955" align="aligncenter" width="600"]WholeBird_CP5_4028_ret Jerry adds flavor with thyme and marjoram / Students work on deboning a chicken / Sheila blanches spinach for the stuffing.[/caption] Mark Rosenstein is a critically acclaimed veteran restaurateur who has been running restaurants in the WNC for over 40 years. Mark's cooking is based on local, seasonal ingredients and his current passion is cooking with fire. His newest project, the Smoky Park Supper Club in the River Arts District in Asheville, features wood-fired, seasonal, farm-to-table cuisine. If you are interested in wood-fired cooking, check out Mark’s upcoming January Folk School class: Wood-fired Cookery - Breads, Meats, and Vegetables.

[caption id="attachment_13846" align="aligncenter" width="600"] The class display at Show and Tell (2013)[/caption] If you are looking for a unique class at the Folk School that incorporates visual art, mixed media, and performance into a week of puppet fun, check out David Stephens' class Hand-and-Rod Puppet Construction (April 10-16, 2016). When David teaches his class, an infectious feeling of whimsy, fun, and joyful energy permeates the campus. David has been a puppeteer and puppet maker for over 20 years and is founder of All Hands Productions in Atlanta, GA. I sat down with David during his last class here at the Folk School to find out a little more about the magic of puppetry. [caption id="attachment_13855" align="alignright" width="249"] David with his new alien creation[/caption] CP: Is the person who creates the puppet usually the puppeteer? DS: Some people are just builders, and some people are just performers. I do both and I feel like I am a more informed builder, because I am a performer, and vice versa. Understanding the mechanics of how the puppet is made makes me a better performer. Thinking like a performer makes me a better builder, because I know what I want the puppet to be able to do. It can be a symbiotic relationship. I like the visual art aspect just as much as the performance part. Making a puppet from scratch is very gratifying. You take this idea in your head and realize it in three dimensions, which is pretty cool. CP: Describe what a week is like in your Hand-and-Puppet Construction class. DS:  For the first few days, everybody is making the same basic form. By the end of the week, students are creating their own characters, using their imaginations to come up with different facial feature combinations. The personalities of the puppets start to come out later in the week. You see this extreme change in the room from things that look very much the same, to very distinct looking characters. The difference between the puppets that I make and the puppets that these students make is about 20 years of experience. We are all working with the same basic pattern. Experience is the only difference; otherwise we are making the puppets from exactly the same patterns and materials.

[caption id="attachment_13733" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Our Folk School booth at the 76th National Folk Festival in Greensboro, NC. Our Folk School booth at the 75th National Folk Festival in Greensboro, NC[/caption] ncff-2015-logoWe had a great time this past weekend representing the Folk School at the 75th National Folk Festival. This was the 1st year (of a 3-year residency) that the Folk Fest was hosted in the city of Greensboro, NC. The event featured performances and demonstrations by over 300 of the nation’s finest musicians, dancers, and craftspeople. We hope to see you next year. Save the dates for this awesome festival in an awesome town. The 76th National Folk Festival dates are September 9-11, 2016! [caption id="attachment_13736" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kisha joined the JCCFS team this weekend / Rob sold his gigantic jug to a face jug collector. Kisha joined the JCCFS team this weekend / Rob sold his gigantic jug to a face jug collector.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_13700" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Raku Firing Harry opens the kiln & Cara uses tongs to transfer the glowing pot to the metal trash can lined with newspaper.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13707" align="alignright" width="212"]sdfasdf Final class vessels, cooling after Raku firing[/caption] If you stroll by Studio Row when a class is doing a Raku firing at the outdoor kiln, you are in for an exciting, fiery surprise. I was lucky to catch Harry & Julie Hearne's recent class, The Art of Throwing and Raku Firing, as they were firing their last pieces of the week. Western-style Raku derives from a rich tradition of Japanese pottery that was made specifically for tea ceremonies. In the 1960s, it was popularized in the US by potters who were inspired by the Japanese tradition. To learn more about the differences between the two traditions, check the article American-Style Raku by Paul Soldner. With Raku firing, the potter removes the vessel from the kiln while it is still very hot, red, and glowing. He or she uses tongs to move the piece from the kiln to a prepped trash can. Once the piece is inside, the fiery show begins! I had a great time watch the class during this process.

[caption id="attachment_13548" align="aligncenter" width="600"]A rare book in need of restoration A rare book in need of restoration[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13546" align="alignright" width="212"]Gian Frontini teaching in Lower Keith House Studio Gian Frontini teaching in Lower Keith House Studio[/caption] Gian Frontini has taught book making and restoration at the Folk School for many years. He runs a small bindery in Amherst Island, Ontario, and concentrates on restoration and conservation of early leather and vellum bindings. I talked Gian about his upcoming class: Book Restoration Clinic, about book making, the Folk School, and more. Enjoy our interview! CP: Tell me about yourself. Where are you from, and what originally brought you to Brasstown? GF: I live on an island in Lake Ontario with my wife Pat, who is professional potter and weaver. Amherst Island is a wonderful and peaceful place, ideal to lose yourself in your craft. My wife is English and I am Italian. We both came to Canada 50 years ago. I was employed in an international company and Canada is the place we loved the most of everywhere I worked all over the world. Brasstown came into our life when Pat met Martha Owen in 1999 at a spinners' conference. The next year we came to the school, and since then it has become a bigger, and bigger part of our life. [caption id="attachment_13544" align="alignright" width="272"]GIan's South Shore Bindery on Amherst Island Gian's South Shore Bindery on Amherst Island[/caption] CP: I know you have a cabin very close to the Folk School. Do you spend some of the year here? GF: We spend three months of the year here, usually in the fall and spring. The summers are too lovely on Amherst Island and I love the fierce frozen wastes of the Northern winters. It is incredible that we have the choice of such lovely places. CP: Why do you like teaching at the Folk School? GF: The Folk School is an unique sharing experience for both teachers and students. It is rare to find a place where you can freely exchange ideas and knowledge. I love teaching at the Folk School because I learn from the students and make so many good friends.

KS2A8787Instructor Mary Lou Weidman of Spokane, Washington recently sent us a quilt depicting the story of the Folk School. Three and a half years in the making, the wonderfully colorful and imaginative quilt is hanging on display in the Community Room of Keith House.

"I was told about JCC by instructor DeeDee Triplett who told me that making money teaching was not the main reason for being there. And the first time I taught there I knew just what she meant. The people, the feeling of community and joy was what it was about. Meeting people from all over in the dining room and hearing experiences and seeing people help each other and in the end hug and wave "Goodbye" was lovely. People were happy with projects and a week of loveliness in the meadows and gardens and just walking along the paths is joyful. Imagining those that came before you is a nice thing to do also while you look at butterflies and nature and lovely wrought iron and folk art here and there. It is a pleasure to come and enjoy all there is, including music and dancing at night. This is a great place to work on gratitude and all that God can provide in one lovely place.

KS2A8798

I decided to work on a quilt because there is so much to tell stories about there. Once I got into designing it, I realized that it should be a series of quilts because there is so much to tell and not enough room in one quilt. But I did the best I could and wanted to have John and Olive and Marguerite and the deed for the property from Fred Scroggs as that seemed very important to say. I worked for over three years on this quilt and Kathy Woods quilted it for me. Connie Donaldson my neighbor worked on it too and we both read many of the catalogues and other things online for ideas. Then we had too many ideas and so we did the best we could.

[caption id="attachment_13338" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Kathy Hays displays her eco print creations outside the Wet Room. Kathy Hays displays her eco print creations outside the Wet Room.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_13334" align="alignright" width="234"]Class projects Class projects[/caption] I stopped by the Wet Room to visit Kathy Hays' recent class "Eco Printing Meets Felt Making" to see what they were creating. I talked to Kathy about her craft and the joys of eco printing. Enjoy our interview! CP: Tell me about where you're from, what you do there, and about your craft. KH: I’m from Florida, an unusual area for felt making due to the climate. I began making felt here at the Folk School in 1999. After struggling and trying to figure how to make felt on my own, I was able to come here and after the first day, it was like all my questions were answered! The rest of the week was purely a bonus. CP: How is Nuno Felting different from other felting? KH: Felt making is wool fibers being arranged and then adding soap, water, and agitation. In the case of Nuno Felting, you are merging fibers through another fabric. The term is a little ambiguous. That fabric can be cotton, linen... anything that is thin enough for it to come through. It creates a unique texture when it does that.