Have you ever wanted to try batik and hand-dyeing? We have a very special surface design class coming up on January 12–18, 2020 with Jessica Kaufman: Studio Batik: Many Techniques, Amazing Results. Jessica has studied batik methods from Indonesia and India and is the owner of WAXON Batik & Dye Studio in Asheville, NC. With over 16 years of teaching experience and an MA in crafts education, Jessica has taught batik and tie-dye to summer campers, school children, high schoolers, and adults all over the country. We are lucky to have her for a week-long intensive focusing on this gorgeous and functional art form. Enjoy our interview!
[caption id="attachment_18944" align="alignright" width="209"] Photo by Nicole McConville[/caption]
CP:When did you first come to the Folk School? When were you a host?JK: I grew up with relatives in Penland and would visit the school for community days, but couldn’t align my work schedule in a way that would allow me to take a class there when I was a young full-time teacher. Someone suggested I take a look at the John C. Campbell Folk School and it was absolute love at first sight. The week-long classes, offered year-round, were a dream come true.
I saved my pennies and booked a clay class over my spring break in 2005. I was teaching in a Haywood County public school and this class just lined up with my vacation days. Ted Cooley was our class assistant and two young women I knew from Asheville were the Hosts. I immediately saw the potential for myself there. I took a few more classes as a student, and then, in 2009, I served six months as Host. I was the last six-month host (the school went to a four-month system after that) but I wished it was still a 2-year position, as it was in Ellie Wilson’s time. I would have signed up instantly for that!
[caption id="attachment_13338" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Kathy Hays displays her eco print creations outside the Wet Room.[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_13334" align="alignright" width="234"] 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.
[caption id="attachment_10936" align="aligncenter" width="480"] Class Photo: Yoruba Batik, Adire, and Tie Dye with Gasali Adeyemo[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_10935" align="alignright" width="230"] Gasali and Charlotte by the indigo dye pot[/caption]
I had the pleasure of assisting in the Science of Bread class in the Cooking Studio at the beginning of this month. As a class that produces more warm crusty delicious bread than we know what to do with, you can imagine that we make friends with other classes pretty quickly. Our next door neighbors in the Wet Room, the Surface Design and Dyeing Class with Gasali Adeyemo and assisted by Charlotte Crittenden, received the bulk of the bread bounty. In return, their class invited us to watch one of the most exciting moments of their class: the magic moment of the indigo dye pot!