Stories

This past weekend, instructor Alice Russell taught a Quilting class. She brought some samples of her quilting, including this beautiful quilt she recently created for the Quilts of Valor Foundation​ which provides quilts to heal and comfort our service members and veterans. We think that's pretty awesome! Go Alice! [caption id="attachment_12533" align="aligncenter" width="599"]CP4_6898-AliceRussell-Quilt Julie Johnson and Alice Russell hold up Alice's "Quilt of Valor"[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_12507" align="alignright" width="284"]Ivan & Leanne Ewert Ivan & Leanne[/caption] I met Ivan Ewert in Leatherworking class at the Folk School this past fall. While we were busy cutting and riveting leather in the Wood Carving Studio, Ivan's wife Leanne was just across the way in the Jewelry Studio shaping metal into wearable treasures. This was Leanne and Ivan's second trip to the Folk School together. They were celebrating their 15th anniversary. It was inspirational to see in action how the Folk School is an awesome destination for couples. With V-Day right around the corner, I decided now was a great time to catch up with them about their Folk School experience. Enjoy!  CP: How did you hear about the Folk School?  IE: Leanne is a jewelry artist who subscribes to many art magazines. There was an advert in the back of one of them that grabbed her interest, and when we looked the school up online we knew it was something we had to do together. LE: I had been looking at that advertisement for sometime and when I finally mentioned it to Ivan, he was just as excited about the adventure as I was! CP: Why did you decide it would be a fun place to come as a couple?  IE: We rarely vacation apart, so if one was going, the other was too! Leanne's interest in learning new skills to apply to her career was inspiring. There was a painting class taking place at the same time as the classes she wanted to take, and a week painting in the mountains sounded like a wonderful retreat. [caption id="attachment_12505" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Leanne enjoys the vast supply closet in the Jewelry Studio. Leanne's "Mecca"- the vast supply closet in the Folk School Jewelry Studio.[/caption] LE: I work out of my home studio and it can become a very solitary/insular life if one is not careful. The opportunity to be surrounded by, and learn from, other creatives that work in my chosen field sounded fabulous and I immediately wanted to go. I was born and raised in the south, so any chance I have to go back home is always a big treat for me. This is the best of both worlds AND I get to share it with the person I love. This last trip was our anniversary gift to one another! CP: How many times have you come to the Folk School? What classes have you taken?  IE: Only twice so far, and never a class together. Leanne's focused on jewelry but branched into leatherwork with Donna Wiggins this year. I've taken painting, leatherwork, and The Art of Smoke... all of my classes have been a real treat. LE: The first time we came down, I took a week-long wire wrapping class with Judy Peppers. This last time, I was getting more advanced instructions in Metalsmithing with Tom And Kay Benham for my week course and then onto a much-too short weekend session with Donna Wiggins for beginner work in leather...LOVED IT!!!

[caption id="attachment_12188" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Painting by Sara Boggs[/caption] Every time I see Sara Boggs around campus, like a giddy child, I ask her: "Can I see your sketchbook?" She always says "yes." You see, Sara is one of those artists who constantly carries her handmade sketchbook around, capturing tiny moments of life here and there - taking the time to practice and develop her drawing ability everyday. It has been incredible to see her book grow with the faces, places, and the spirit of the Folk School during her host term this fall. She permitted me to scan in some pages from her book to share with you. We also sat down over cookies and tea to talk about her experience as host and artistic journaler. [caption id="attachment_12174" align="alignright" width="229"]Sara in the Folk School Painting Studio Sara in the Folk School Painting Studio[/caption] CP: You were recently a character in the night of Holiday Revelry hosted by David Vowell. Who did you play? SB: I got to play a couple of different characters: an all around reveler drinking wassail, the Little Pickle Boy in one of the tales about St. Nicholas, and Jack the Green in the mummer’s play. Jack’s character is traditionally full of mischief! In our play, Jack the Green saves the day in the story of St. George and the Dragon. CP: Very nice. So you are wrapping up your host term at the Folk School? What's been your favorite part of being host?  SB: It’s the people… it’s for sure the people. Every week, I get to meet all of these wonderful people with amazing stories and wonderful things that they have done. They are all so sweet and encouraging – they make me feel like this world we have here that’s not quite real life – this fairy tale world that’s all fiddle music and blacksmith coal – is something that we can carry always. It’s been really wonderful to meet them all. CP: Do you have any specific memories that resonate with you? SB: There have been quite a few. Maybe it was because it was so early on in my time here, but one that sticks out is a magical cooking class dinner party. The class was a wood fired cooking class and they had their Thursday night dinner outside on picnic tables, with candle light torches. There was wine, and ukelele music, and a beautiful pink sunset overhead… little dogs came wandering through. It was slow and delicious. I wasn’t even supposed to be there, I was just crashing, but they let me crash. It was a lovely evening and I felt like it was the right way to start off my foot here. [caption id="attachment_12175" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Page from Sarah's sketchbook: Thursday night dinner party for the Cooking Class Page from Sara's sketchbook: Thursday night dinner party for the Cooking Class[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_12123" align="aligncenter" width="599"] Student Matt waits in front of the outdoor wood fired oven adjacent to the Cooking Studio while his artisan loaves bake.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12128" align="alignright" width="202"]Woodfire-NanetteSpices Nanette in the Cooking Studio[/caption] Love the magic and allure of the wood fired flame? Do you savor the flavor of food cooked in a brick oven? The Cooking Studio at the John C. Campbell Folk School has not one, but two, wood fired brick ovens for students to bake all sorts of savory and sweet treats, from flatbreads and loaves, to roasted meats, fish & vegetables, to delicious curries & stews, and even pies, cakes & gingerbread cookies. In 1998, when I was asked to become the first Resident Artist for Cooking at the Folk School, I was eager to learn the art of wood fired baking in our brand new Woodstone Domed Pizza Oven which was installed in the Cooking Studio on the ground floor of Davidson Hall. We recognized the growing revival of interest in wood fired baking and we wanted to make these techniques available to our own community. A few years later, we added the second outdoor student-built oven, housed under a student-built timber-framed pavilion. Clay instructor, Mary Dashiell and her husband John designed and led the construction of that oven.

[caption id="attachment_12103" align="aligncenter" width="602"]The Brasstown Morris Teams in England. Carl and trombone are on the far left. The Brasstown Morris Teams in England. (Carl and his red trombone are on the far right.)[/caption] There are all sorts of traditions that are alive and well at the Folk School. The Brasstown Fire Department always brings the firetruck to spray down all the children during Little/Middle Folk School, we always dance the Salty Dog Rag during the evening break at Saturday night dances, and the Brasstown Brigade always helps us bring in the New Year with their black powder muskets. One of my favorite Folk School traditions is the Brasstown Follies, the talent show that happens each Winter Dance Week the night before New Years Eve. For as long as I've been coming to Winter Dance Week, the Follies have been organized and MC'ed by Carl Dreher - dancer, musician, magician, and all around Brasstown enthusiast. So enthusiastic, in fact, that he and his wife Charlotte Bristow recently retired and decided to move here from Texas. Let's meet Carl... [caption id="attachment_12107" align="alignright" width="253"]Carl & Charlotte at Kenilworth Castle. Photo by Julie B. Hearne. Carl & Charlotte at Kenilworth Castle.
Photo by Julie B. Hearne.[/caption] CC: When did you first start coming to the Folk School? Was it for Winter Dance Week, or to take another class? CD: I believe it was 1993. I saw an ad for Winter Dance Week in the Country Dance & Song Society (CDSS) newsletter, and saw that Bob Dalsemer (the Music and Dance Coordinator at the Folk School at the time) was in charge. I knew Bob from serving on the Board of CDSS, and that was all the recommendation I needed to know that it would be a fun week. So I loaded up my truck and drove out. Except for one year when my wife Charlotte and I decided to stay home for Christmas (a big mistake, I SO missed everyone!) and one year when I was sick, we've been coming continuously since then. CC: Tell us about your interest in music and dance? What musical instruments do you play and what kinds of dance have you done? CD: I've always had music in my life, with my parent's encouragement. Neither of them played any instruments that I can remember, although I still have my dad's harmonica. My parents loved German music and bought my brother an accordion...is that child abuse?...but he didn't take to it, so I picked it up. (Not easy...it was a full 120-bass "Billy Baldwin" Har-har.) I started the trombone in 7th grade. (My parent's reaction was "What? The trombone?! But you have an accordion!") I continued playing it all the way through college and then grad school at the University of Virginia. There was a very fine concertina player at U.Va., which inspired me later to buy an instrument and some books and learn it. The melodeon came next out of necessity, since I wanted to start a Cotswold Morris side and I was the only musician (that's being self-flattering) in the group. Next on the list are the banjo and the ukelele, which are hiding in a closet, waiting to be unleashed on the unsuspecting world. I intend to make use of Folk School classes to get started on those. Wow, accordion, trombone and banjo. The Big Three of social-pariah instruments.

I had the pleasure of having my first ever Folk School Quilting class taught by one firecracker of a quilter, Audrey Hiers of Blairsville, GA. This lovely lady has been picked to be featured in McCall's "Quilting” Magazine 6 times and her "Crazy Dazies” designs is a McCall's pick of their top 16 scrap quilts. She is teaching “Appalachian Holiday Quilts" during Holiday in the Mountains Week, December 7-13. I caught up with Audrey about quilting and more. Enjoy our chat! [caption id="attachment_12026" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Detail of "It's Fall, Y'all: Fun Scrappy Autumn Quilt" by Audrey Hiers Detail of "It's Fall, Y'all: Fun Scrappy Autumn Quilt" by Audrey Hiers[/caption] [caption id="attachment_12018" align="alignright" width="227"]Audrey teaches Sara about quilt design in the Folk School Quilting Studio. Audrey teaches Sara about quilt design in the Folk School Quilting Studio.[/caption] CP: How did you get so involved in the quilting world? AH: Probably because of the quilting genes in the family. Both of my grandmothers quilted and although I never saw either of them at the frame, I do believe in heredity! You could say I fell into it, and once I tried it, I got hooked big time. I seriously started quilting in the early 80s and taught my first class in 1987. CP: Has quilting changed since then? Comparing quilting 1980s to now is like the difference between night and day. For the most part we still use fabric and that's about it. CP: What’s your favorite holiday motif? AH: My favorite holiday motif is a sprig of freshly cut pine with holly sprigs mixed in. Alone, it would be a holly leaf. CP: How is Appalachian style quilting different from quilting in other regions? Does it have any distinctive characteristics?

[caption id="attachment_11908" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Wood Engraved print and block project by Nancy Darrell created in Jim Horton's Folk School class Student print and block project created in Jim Horton's Wood Engraving class at the Folk School[/caption] I recently talked with instructor Jim Horton about printmaking, wood engraving, his upcoming classes and the new Book and Paper Arts Studio. Jim has been a printmaking/graphic design instructor for 43 years, with special interest in historic graphic tools and processes. His work ranges from job printing and book arts to limited-edition prints. Enjoy our interview! [caption id="attachment_11904" align="alignright" width="285"]Poster by Jim Horton Poster by Jim Horton[/caption] CP: Where are you from? JH: I was born in Oklahoma, but lived most of my life in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Midwesterner to the bone, but I sure like to visit the South. CP: Tell me about your history with printmaking? JH: My father was a sign painter, the old fashioned kind using a brush and gold leaf. It was an incredible skill. He also did silk screen printing back when the fabric was real silk. He cut stencils by hand. So graphic arts was always highly respected on our family culture. Making woodblock prints was way cool. As a college student in art school, naturally, I gravitated to the printmaking studio. I was at home there. I loved the industriousness of proofing an edition of prints on fine paper. CP: What do you do when you are not in Brasstown? JH: I was an art teacher, and at every level, teaching graphic design, studio art.. all mediums. That and always printing. A few years back I deeply got into letterpress and engraving. I live in a rural area, and love working outdoors, walking and doing yoga. I still love to draw too. I go over to the local universities and draw from life (models). [caption id="attachment_11906" align="aligncenter" width="480"]Class photo and projects from Jim's class: "The Art of the Great American Poster" Class photo and projects from Jim's class: "The Art of the Great American Poster"[/caption] CP: How long have you been coming to/teaching at the Folk School? JH: I want to say about seven years. Dea Sasso got me here, and she was right. People like the Pattersons, we can only get down here in these hills. [caption id="attachment_11910" align="alignright" width="480"]Wood Engraving and Letterpress Printing with Jim Horton5 Folkehøjskole print by Jim Horton and illustrations by Nancy Darrell[/caption] CP: What are projects are you working on currently? Where do you draw inspirations from? JH: I am illustrating and printing a book of traditional folk songs. I love cowboy songs...why? I don't know. I also love old gospel, though I am not the least bit religious in a doctrinal sense.