News & Stories

Read about the Folk School experience from students and instructors. Hear about the latest news from our staff and Resident Artists.
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Lindsey Liden, Banjo Builder

In 1925, Lindsey Mulheron Liden’s...

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Applications for Artist in Residence Program Now Open

Applications are open through Saturday,...

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Welcome to Our New Website

Our new website is here!...

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2021 Annual Report – Singing Behind the Plow

Our 2021 Annual Report is now available...

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Fall Festival

We invite you to celebrate…

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Little Middle 2022

Every summer the Folk School…

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Meet the Work Study: Session 1, 2022

The Folk School's Work Study...

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South Arts Southern Circuit Film Screenings: Spring 2022

In partnership with the Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, we are pleased to announce our spring lineup of in-person film screenings!

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Olive’s Porch Now Open

Olive’s Porch, a new Folk School experience in downtown Murphy, is opening this winter! Named after the school’s co-founder Olive Dame Campbell, the location at 27 Peachtree Street features classroom space, a retail shop showcasing the work of Appalachian artists, and a studio space dedicated to the Artist in Residence Program.

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Folk School Holiday Memories with Carolyn Anderson

Carolyn Anderson is a long-standing member of the renowned Brasstown Carvers and a member of The Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Always quick with encouragement to new carvers, she possesses a sweet and generous nature and is a genuine embodiment of the Folk School’s values of Joy, Kindness, and Stewardship.

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Remembering Carla Owen

We are mourning the loss…

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All Hail the Tinsmiths

Tinsmithing. It doesn’t have the…

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Exploring Campus with Carol Parks

On the week of our reopening, Carol joined us to teach her class Campus Sketch Crawl. Read below to hear her thoughts on being back in the studio and to see the artwork of campus her students produced!

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Welcome Jason Ebinger

We would like to extend a warm welcome to our new Gardener, Jason Ebinger! Jason has an extensive history managing farm and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Folk School. We look forward to seeing how the garden flourishes this year. Read more to learn about Jason and his goals in this position.

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The Importance of Carrying on Tradition: Interview with Gina Myers, 3rd Generation Cherokee Potter

Gina “Swimmer” Myers sat down with Tammy Elwell recently for a conversation about her craft. Gina comes from a long line of established Cherokee potters, the granddaughter of renowned Cherokee potter Amanda “Sequoyah” Swimmer. Her craft has been inspired by the strong women in her life and her commitment to the stewardship of traditional Cherokee crafts.

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Welcome Allie Dudley, Resident Artist in Weaving, Rugs, Thread Art, Lace and Beading

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Allie Dudley, our new Resident Artist in Weaving, Rugs, Thread Art, Lace, and Beading! Allie is a fiber artist and teacher who works primarily with weaving and embroidery, whose tapestries and other works have been included in several international fiber shows.

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Radical, Righteous, Women at the Folk School

In honor of Women’s History Month, I had short chat with Mary Doornbos, former Craft Shop Manager at the Folk School. The month of March was declared Women’s History Month in an effort to commemorate and encourage the study, observance, and celebration of women in America.

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Thank You for the Wonderful Lessonface Experience

We send a big “thank you” to the students, instructors, and staff who helped to make our Lessonface classes a big success. So far, over 300 students enjoyed our online course offerings in 10 different media including cooking, fiber arts, glass beadmaking, music and dance, nature studies, painting, paper arts, photography, storytelling, woodturning and writing.

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The Importance of Being a Student: An Interview with Jeff Hornung

Jumpstarted by a Folk School woodturning class nine years ago, Jeff Hornung began his own woodturning business after recovering from post-concussion syndrome. Now, he is a Folk School instructor, juried artist, national and international demonstrator, author, and Artist-in-Residence at the Craft Alliance School of Art + Design in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Elizabeth Belz Reflects on Creative Catalyst Fellowship

Blacksmith and Metalworker Elizabeth Belz...

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Appalachian Traditions Discussion with Ann Miller Woodford

We are excited to present artist, author, and speaker Ann Miller Woodford on March 19 from 4–5 p.m. for our Appalachian Traditions Discussion on Zoom. Learn more!

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Interview with Barbara Joiner, Resident Artist in Jewelry & Metals

Barbara joined Tammy Elwell in the Craft Shop for an afternoon of questions where she shared some wonderful insights into her journey as a maker, artist, and teacher. Barbara is a renowned jewelry artist and our Resident Artist in theJewelry and Metal Studio. Enjoy the interview!

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Recreating a 1933 Doris Ulmann Photograph with Lesley Darling

Last fall, I and eight other craftspeople joined John C Campbell for the second session of the Traditional Craft Mentorship program. During this four-week program, we lived, ate, and crafted on campus (socially distanced of course). While we wait patiently for the Folk School to open in person later this year, I thought I’d share a story about just one adventure that befell us in October.

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REACH at the Forge: Piloting Blacksmithing Classes for the Future

In December of 2020, Lynda Metcalfe and Elizabeth Belz came together to teach two 2-hour long blacksmithing classes in the Clay Spencer shop to 7 staff and residents from the Cherokee and Clay County Women’s shelter, REACH.

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Margaret Dugger’s Perspective on Mentorship

My experience at the Folk School left my heart renewed. The mentorship program was a unique opportunity, and in a year of cancellations, it was a breath of fresh air. I applied to it because I wanted the luxury of being a student: studying history, taking an in-depth look at a few topics, and being able to weave for a month with other weavers. I am at a stage in my career where it feels best to apply to everything I am qualified for and to run with any opportunities given. I ended up falling in love with the Appalachian mountains again and learning so much about what I thought I already knew.

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Making Colorful Corn Shuck Dolls with Anne Freels

Pumpkin season means farmers’ markets and local growers have pumpkins galore in the mountains. They’re technically a squash and extremely healthful. But combine pumpkin with chocolate chips in this delicious cake and you’ve got a match made in heaven.

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Appalachian Traditions with Brasstown Carver Helen Gibson

Join us in welcoming Helen Gibson for this month’s Appalachian Traditions, virtual discussions with instructors from our master-artist-led series on traditional Appalachian craft.

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Appalachian Broom Making with Marlow Gates

Whatever your abode, castle, or cottage, you most likely have a broom in your home or hanging on your hearth. From besoms and cobweb brooms to more modern flat brooms and whimsical sculptural objects, brooms are important cultural symbols used for decoration and ritual, as well as functional tools.

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A Look at the First Plants of the Cory Brown Memorial Dye Garden

Welcome to the new Folk School Dye Garden. Natural dye comes from the leaves, flowers, or roots of plants. In this video, we will take a look at Nankeen cotton, indigo, coreopsis, yarrow, French marigolds, madder, chamomile, and purple gromwell.

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Coming Together: COVID-19 Folklife Resources

While we continue to monitor COVID-19 updates, we have been overwhelmed by the resources we’ve found providing assistance to folklife organizations, artists, and storytellers. We have compiled this list of COVID-19 folklife resources so that others can continue to share their stories, crafts, and rich cultural heritage during this time.

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I Made a Classic Appalachian-style Ladderback Chair with Lyle Wheeler

Lyle Wheeler, a longtime Folk School instructor in both Woodworking and Blacksmithing, is a treasure of the Folk School. The week I spent years ago, building a ladderback chair with Lyle, changed the way I think about craft and my own capabilities as a maker. I am excited that later this month Lyle will be giving a Zoom presentation on June 15 as part of the Folk School’s Appalachian Traditions Discussion series. I encourage you to tune into his talk, and learn from this wonderful self-proclaimed “all-around “good ol’ boy” from Millers Creek, North Carolina.”

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Autoharp Musings with Leah Dolgoy

On Friday, May 29, the sweet-stringed sounds of Leah Dolgoy’s autoharp filled Folk School ears with joy and magic for our Facebook Live Morningsong. If you missed the live show, be sure to watch the recording via the link posted here in our blog post. Also, enjoy an interview with Leah, originally published in 2016.

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Tune Into Virtual Morningsong Every Friday

Join us every Friday morning on Facebook Live for Virtual Morningsong. It’s a great way to start the day! To watch live, all you have to do is visit our Facebook Page at 7:45–8:15 a.m. on Fridays. If you miss a Morningsong, or want to re-watch, you can view the recordings by following the links in the artists section.

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What’s An Artist to Do?

June Rollins shares a video she made for her watercolor class and gives us some tips for artists while staying at home.

“Like many of us, Rob, my husband, and I have been at home since Mid-March. The first couple of weeks it felt like I had taken early retirement. I was scheduled to teach my first, week-long watercolor class at the Folk School, March 29–April 4, 2020. It didn’t happen. My class was just one of many that had to be canceled. I had planned on sharing the painting steps of “Made For The Sun,” with my class. Instead, I’d like to share them with you in the video slideshow below.”

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Shearing Day at Martha’s Farm & A Prize for All

The days have pushed themselves along since the birth of our three brave lambs born to “Robin” on March 6th. When they arrived, I did not call them anything much. I just looked at them, noted their shape and health and desire to eat, and thought, Those three, they are the ones without names!

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A Look Back at Folk School May Day Celebrations

Wishing you a happy May Day! We’re looking forward to dancing around the May Pole together again, but until then, we put together this post filled with photos of years past, a video from 2011, and an excerpt by Nanette Davidson about May Day from The Folk School Cookbook. Enjoy!

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Coming Together: COVID-19 Community Resources

As we enter a new normal, we are discovering ways to support our neighbors during these trying times. We feel it’s essential to stay connected and to share information about ways our community can give and receive support. We have created this community resource list and will continue to update it as we learn new information.

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Coming Together: COVID-19 Artist Resources

We are encouraged by the outpouring of support and concern for the craft community as we learn about resources for artists during these times. We have compiled a list of COVID-19 resources available for artists here. If you have additional information and would like to contribute to this list, please post a comment below.

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A Look at Southern Scrap Quilts with Pepper Cory

One of Pepper’s specialties is Southern scrap quilts, both making and collecting. Pepper explains that Southern scrap quilts, particularly from North Carolina, are a fascinating study in frugality, family life, and beauty.

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Cannon County Basket Tradition with Sue Williams

Sue Williams is recognized for the preservation of the Cannon County white oak basket making tradition, one of the most renowned basket making traditions in the United States. Sue’s commitment to education, advocacy, and teaching the tradition has secured a future for the this style beyond the original basket making families of Cannon County, Tennessee. We are delighted to have Sue teach the Cannon County white oak basket style regularly at the Folk School.

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Folk School Stories: Jo Haas

“Magical.” That’s how Jo Haas describes the first time she visited our beloved Folk School. Five years ago, Jo was looking for an immersive experience that would really help her unplug from her busy life as CEO of the non-profit Kentucky Science Center.

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Fantastic Recycled Plastic Art: An Interview with David Edgar

Imagine transforming your trash into treasure by creating fantastic plastic creatures and whimsical designs with recycled plastic. David Edgar, an artist who sculpted in steel for 30 years, now creates stunning pieces in plastic and he can teach you to do it too in his upcoming class: Fantastic Recycled Plastic. Lets get to know David a little more and discover the world of plastic art. Enjoy our interview!

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Writing Memories into Family Histories: An Interview with Robin Edgar

When you take a Folk School class, you never know who you will meet. Last fall, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Robin Edgar in the herbalism class during Shaker Week. I learned that she and her husband, David Edgar, have been teaching classes at the Folk School since 1996! Robin teaches writing and David teaches the unique craft of turning recycled plastic into fantastic creations. This year, they are both teaching during Earth Week, April 19–24, 2020. In her upcoming class, Turning Fond Memories into Family Histories, students will discover how to use sights, sounds, and even smells to recall and record meaningful memories.

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Help Foster a Child’s Learning and Creativity

For only $173, you can help foster a child’s learning and creativity. By providing a scholarship for our week-long Little/Middle Folk School, you can help kids learn about Appalachian culture and explore fun and educational art and craft classes.

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Fire and Light

The Sunday sun was sinking behind the Blue Ridge Mountains when my husband Randy and I arrived at the world-renowned John C. Campbell Folk School. It was the beginning of a week of classes set against the backdrop of purple mountain peaks and green valleys dotted with hay bales.

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Folk School Stories: Luz and John Frye

Luz and John think it’s important to financially support our non-profit school that provides such value to them, so they include the Folk School in both their annual giving and estate plans. “This is a significant place that’s different than most of the rest of the world, so we want to support it,” John said. “If we don’t support it as individuals, then we can’t encourage other people and grantors to support it.”  

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Studio Batik with Jessica Kaufman

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.

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The Modern Asian Kitchen with Patrick O’Cain

I met with chef Patrick O’Cain at his popular Asheville restaurant, Gàn Shān Station, to interview him about his upcoming class at the Folk School, The Modern Asian Kitchen. We are excited to have him return to Brasstown, April 12–18, 2020, to share his knowledge of Asian cooking. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a renowned and celebrated Asheville chef and immerse yourself in the cooking cultures of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and beyond.

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Folk School Stories: Karen and Paul Rusello

Whatever your abode, castle or cottage, you most likely have a broom in your home or hanging on your hearth. From besoms and cobweb brooms to more modern flat brooms and whimsical sculptural objects, brooms are important cultural symbols used for decoration and ritual, as well as functional tools. At the Folk School, we have both week-long and weekend classes for you to explore the rich heritage of broom making with renowned artisans.

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Rags to Riches with JoEl Levy LoGiudice

Rag rug weaving embraces the folk art tradition of using everyday, readily available materials to build aesthetically beautiful, yet functional art: textiles made from the things we have, can forage, or acquire. With the craze du jour surrounding KonMari, now is a good time to think about new options for all those clothes you may be putting into the “Thank you, goodbye” pile. Rag rug weaving might be your perfect option!

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Paper Thread Sculptural Basketry with Aimee Lee

If you are interested in basketry, paper art, or weaving, and want to learn new techniques, materials, and form, don’t miss our upcoming class with Aimee Lee, Paper Thread through Asia, scheduled for June 9–15, 2019. You will discover ancient techniques of transforming paper into thread, cord, small weavings, and sculptural basketry. Based on Korean and Japanese traditions of jiseung (paper basketry) and shifu (paper cloth), you will learn to spin one-ply thread and twist two-ply cord in completely different ways.

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Thank You for a Wonderful Friends & Family Day

We had a wonderful time at our first-ever Friends & Family Day on May 11! Community members of all ages toured our open studios, participated in hands-on making, watched demonstrations, enjoyed music & dance performances, savored local food, and learned all about the Folk School.

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Folk Harp Gathering

Folk harp enthusiasts! Come celebrate Scottish Heritage Week with the ancient instrument of Scotland, the Celtic or lever harp, in our class Folk Harp Gathering. This class encourages harp players to come together and share the history, learn tunes of the ancient harpers, and play songs and dances from Scotland and nearby Celtic lands. It is also a time to rekindle the friendships from past harp gatherings, meet new harp enthusiasts and play together in ensemble.

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Expectations by Lova Lantz

It is Thursday afternoon. Outside the writing studio window, the day is bathed in sunlight, the limb patterns on the grass motionless. Inside the studio, writers are at work with pen or laptop, or staring out the window, or sitting chin in hand. Chairs squeak, the printer clacks, the clock ticks. Small sounds that only accentuate the silence. The writing group is focused, which is different from a focus group . . . or maybe it isn’t.

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March of the Fiddlers

When students show up at an Intermediate-level fiddle class, they already know how to play some tunes — maybe some fast ones, maybe some waltzes; tunes learned from a friend or teacher or family member, tunes laboriously acquired from a scratchy old recording, or tunes read out of a tunebook.

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Folk School Stories: Tommye Scanlin

Having grown up just 12 miles down the road from Brasstown, many of Tommye Scanlin’s earliest Folk School memories date back to her youth. In the mid-1960s, she and her boyfriend would often catch a glimpse of campus on their way to the drive-in movie theater in Peachtree. Since those drive-in, drive by days, Tommye’s Folk School story has come full circle…

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The Folk School Cookbook

Author Nanette Davidson meticulously collected, curated, and adapted over 200 delicious recipes for The Folk School Cookbook. These include some of the most memorable recipes served family-style in the school’s Dining Hall and at seasonal celebrations over the decades. Bring the Folk School’s culinary traditions into your own kitchen and order your copy today!

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Weavers’ Work Week

In our recent letter from Folk School Director Jerry Jackson, Weavers’ Work Week was featured in Janet Davis’ story (if you missed it, read the letter online here). I thought this would be a great time to talk to Pam Howard, the Folk School’s Resident Weaver, about this special week. Weavers’ Work Week is an annual tradition at the Folk School where skilled weavers are invited to come for a week and volunteer their time to do projects around campus and make improvements in the studio. Let’s learn more from Pam…

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Folk School Stories: Janet Davis

When Janet Davis recently volunteered for Weavers’ Work Week, it was just her second visit to campus since her beloved husband, Jim, passed away in November 2017.

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The Photographic Tool Box with Stephanie Gross

Do you have a basic understanding of your DSLR camera and want to learn more in-depth techniques for improving your photography? Summertime at the Folk School provides an abundance of photographic material: pastoral landscapes, interesting folks, gardens, old buildings, barns, music, dance, craft studios. Instructor Stephanie Gross has a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and has been making and thinking about photography for 25 years. Enjoy our interview!

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Flourishing at the Folk School: Corie Pressley

Corie Pressley has lived in tiny Brasstown, North Carolina, all her 21 young years. She commuted to college for two years but this scenic Appalachian community is where she’s grown up, developed, and matured. You might think her life experiences have been limited in this small town. But that’s where you’d be wrong.

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The Folk School on WREK Radio Atlanta

Did you get a chance to listen to the interview about the Folk School with Pattie Bagley, Mark Hendry and Jack Smoot on The Avenue Lounge Show on WREK Radio 91.1 FM, Atlanta, GA? If you missed the live show modern technology has preserved the interview for all to enjoy, at any time, here on Soundcloud. Learn about some Folk School history and also about Pattie, Mark, and Jack’s personal stories and experiences.

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Flameworking 101 with Carla Camasso

Have you ever wanted to experience the magic of moving molten glass? Flameworking 101 might be the craft for you! We are lucky to have Carla Camasso teach the art of flamework, also known as lampwork. Carla is a glass artist currently living in Asheville, North Carolina. Using a torch to melt and manipulate borosilicate glass, her work is greatly inspired by the beauty of nature. Learn more about Carla in this sweet interview I did with her in the Folk School Dining Hall during the week of her last class with us.

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Back in Time at the Folk School, and Biltmore

My recent trip to the Folk School was a little different than usual. For one thing, after ten years of teaching “The Science of Bread,” I shifted gears slightly and taught “Making Traditional Breads.” Thankfully, science still applies in traditional breads. The other difference was that my mom accompanied me for the first time, to take a quilting class…

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Listen to These Folk School Stories

I realized soon after joining the Folk School this summer that this was a unique place brimming with stories. Stories about what happens here, stories about learning a new skill or technique. Stories about how a week at the Folk School has transformed lives, created rich new relationships and empowered students and instructors to make new discoveries about themselves and others.

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Quest: Pottery, Printmaking & Family Vacations

I met Tom Quest over meatloaf dinner in the Dining Hall on Sunday night. We quickly discovered that we were enrolled in the same class: Jim Horton’s “Great American Poster” printmaking class. I discovered Tom is a professional potter and he got his start in clay years ago at the Folk School. He and his family often come here for vacation. This particular week, his wife and daughter were taking felting & dyeing together. I sat down with him to learn a little bit more about his pottery, our class, and why the Folk School is a great place for a family vacation. Enjoy our interview!

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Wanderlust: The Art of Travel Photography with Elizabeth Larson

If turning your vacation to the Folk School into an exploration of travel photography sounds like a dream exploration, be sure to check out our upcoming class Wanderlust: The Art of Travel Photography taught by Elizabeth Larson. Elizabeth has been a professional photographer for 26 years. She specializes in documentary wedding photography, lifestyles, natural portraiture, travel, and editorial work. Join Elizabeth on our pastoral 300-acre campus in the Appalachian Mountains and learn how to capture the spirit of your travels through the camera lens. Enjoy our interview and find out a little more about Elizabeth!

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Sienna’s First Class: Enameling

Read a sweet interview 18-year-old Sienna Bosch from Fort Collins, CO who took the class “Beginning Techniques in Enamel” with Christie Schuster. She was here with her mom, who was in printmaking class, and her dad, who taught woodturning. I sat down with her and talked about her experience. Enjoy our interview!

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We Have Appointed Our New Executive Director!

We have some very exciting news! We are happy to report that our new director has been chosen. Read the press release here:

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Letterpress Printmaking with Jessica White

Next week is a special week for our Book & Paper Arts Program as our brand new beautiful studio opens its doors to students for the very first time. It’s appropriate that the first class is a letterpress printing class considering that printmaking will flourish with the new space and room for equipment and presses. We talked with instructor Jessica White who is teaching the inaugural class about her craft and process. Enjoy our interview!

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The Magic of Paper Cutting with Ingrid Lavoie

The intricate paper cuts of Ingrid Lavoie draw you into a fantastic world of whimsy, nature, and storytelling. She enjoys unfolding a new work to reveal the paper’s transformation, and has been teaching others this delightful art form for several years. Enjoy our interview!

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What’s a Hobo Nickel?

Unsure of what a hobo nickel is? Look no further! Read an interview with Tom Patterson who teaches a class in Hobo Nickel Engraving at the Folk School. Tom has been a hand engraver and metalsmith for more than 50 years. Enjoy our interview!

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Folk School Holiday Traditions with Nanette Davidson

The month of December is a special time at the Folk School. Recently, I connected with Nanette Davidson, our longtime decorating maven and mastermind, to ask about holiday traditions at the Folk School. Enjoy our interview!

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Living a Crafty Life: My Interview with Kay Patterson

Kay Patterson teaches many times throughout the year at the Folk School in a variety of subjects including Jewelry, Metalwork, Felt Making, Enameling, and Shoe Making. I sat down with Kay to learn a little bit more about her life, inspirations, and her crafts. Enjoy our interview!

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A Gingerbread House to Call Your Own

Are you ever inspired during the holiday season and decide to try your hand at making a gingerbread house from scratch? Annnnnd then your dreams of edible decorative glory come crashing down when your gingerbread house looks more like a shanty shack than a storybook chalet? I’ve been there, and maybe you have too. Have no fear! Expert baker and cake decorator, Jodi Rhoden will be here to save the (holi)day with her upcoming weekend class: Handmade Gingerbread Houses.

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The Fantastical Writings of Donna Glee Williams

Donna Glee Williams, is a writer of fantasies for the teenager in all of us, as well as being a seminar leader, dream worker, and creative coach. She has recently published two novels and her work has been featured in anthologies, literary magazines, academic journals, spoken-word podcasts, and more. Without further ado, let’s get to know Donna Glee!

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Adventures in Kaleidoscope Land

Earlier this month, I had the chance to take a class on kaleidoscopes with longtime Folk School instructor Scott Cole

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My Fascinating Lunch with Tim Ryan: Auctions, Dibbles, Zen, Gardens & More

Learn a little bit about Tim Ryan the gardener, auctioneer, medicine showman, raconteur, kettle cooker, blacksmith, instructor, former Folk School Board member, bibliophile, and storyteller. We recently sat down over lunch to talk about many things. Enjoy our interview!

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Pollinators in the Garden: Bees, Birds & Butterflies

I just finished teaching a weekend class on pollinators and gardening at the Folk School. My class was a great group of folks. We learned about seeding starting and growing native milkweeds for monarch eggs and caterpillars, planting flowers, native shrubs and trees for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, the challenges of neonicotinoids and herbicides. The weekend exhibited beautiful May weather! Enjoy our photo album:

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Emily’s Mom’s Sticky Buns

Every year, we have a sweet tooth soothing tradition in Emily Buehler’s bread baking class. On Thursday, students team up to make a special recipe: Emily’s Mom’s Sticky Buns. The beginning of the week is spent learning the basics of  breads like baguettes, sourdough loaves and whole wheat sandwich bread. By Thursday, students are happy to shift gears from savory to sweet for this divine gooey treat. 

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Empty Bowls Presents Checks to Local Food Banks

Empty Bowls checks of $3,188 each were presented this week to the Cherokee County Sharing Center and Clay County Food Pantry. The 10th Annual Empty Bowls was held on March 12 at the Folk School. The Empty Bowls fundraiser for Cherokee and Clay County food banks has been organized by Resident Potter Mike Lalone and hosted by the John C. Campbell Folk School for the past 10 years. Thanks again to everyone who supported this event!

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Folk School JAM Program Passes on Appalachian Musical Traditions to Local Teens

On Friday, April 8, high school students in the Folk School JAM Program played a concert in the Community Room to celebrate the conclusion of the first session. Under the direction of Johnny Scroggs (guitar) and Peggy Patrick (fiddle), students spent 12 weeks learning traditional Appalachian music as part of the Folk School JAM program. We recently sat down with Program Director Hannah Levin to find out more about this wonderful program preserving traditional Appalachian music in our local high schools. Read on to find out how you (or your teen) can get involved!

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Solace in Steel with Elmer Roush

This week for our celebration of Scandinavian heritage, Elmer Roush is teaching Viking-style Ironwork in the Blacksmith Shop. Students are focusing on reproducing 10th-century Viking relics including spearheads, axes arrowheads, and locks. Elmer is renowned for creating hand forged functional hand tools, weapons and implements from 10th Century Viking to 18th Century American styles. He often teaches historical styles at the Folk School.

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Ornamental Books and Boxes for the Holidays

Under my tree this year is another tree and it looks like this:

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Free to Be You: My Interview with David Baker

David Baker lights up any room with creative energy and joy. You may see him in a pink Easter bunny outfit in the spring, dressed as the spirit of fall at Fall Festival, or, on a more casual day, gliding around the Dining Hall in a flouncy, fluorescent tutu. In the spirit of the Folk School, he reminds us to embrace our inner child, to play, to laugh, to create, to experiment and to love each other and ourselves. David has been teaching Kaleidoscope classes at the Folk School for over a decade. He is also our regular massage therapist. Enjoy our interview!

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A Fabulous Folk School Story Quilt by Mary Lou Weidman

Instructor 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.

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Interview with Blacksmith Lynda Metcalfe

A big congratulations to Brasstown artist Lynda Metcalfe for being the recipient of a NOMMA (National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association) Top Job 2015 Silver Award. I was delighted to sit down with Lynda and learn about this exciting project and what it’s like to be a local artist in the Folk School Community. Enjoy our interview!

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A Family Affair at the Folk School

The Folk School recently had a very special group visit. To celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary, Dr. Fred and Mrs. Martha U. Goldner of Nashville, TN, decided to return to the Folk School and this time they brought their family and several friends to join in the fun!

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Alice Russell’s Quilts of Valor

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!

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Handmade Catalog Paper Decorations

In the spirit of a handmade holiday, many ornaments and garlands hanging around the school were created from past Folk School catalogs. The new 2015 Folk School Catalog arrives this week, so we encourage you to re-purpose your 2014 Folk School catalog to make crafty and inexpensive holiday decorations with your family and friends.

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Time to Quilt! An Interview with Audrey Hiers

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!

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Bell, Hook & Anvil: Auction Talk

I stopped by the Oscar Cantrell Blacksmith Shop, the current shop of Resident Blacksmith, Paul Garrett. Paul and I talked about the upcoming Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction on November 1, a special event planned for October 31st, and about Folk School life in general. Enjoy!

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Charlotte Crittenden on Dance Calling

I stopped by the Yarn Circle to speak with Charlotte Crittenden to talk about calling and dancing. Charlotte, a Brasstown local, is a regular caller at the Folk School on Tuesday and Saturday night dances. She is a popular regional caller who has recently called at Old Farmer’s Ball, River Falls, Grey Eagle, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Charleston, Charlotte, Sautee and more! Enjoy our interview…

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Spooning Up Fun in the Craft Shop

We love our new wood pyrography spoons by Teri Paulk! They’re all food safe except for the painted Dogwoods on the back left.

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Craft Shop Tasting Event: A Fun Time Was Had By All

Everyone had a wonderful evening during our July 31 Wine Tasting Event at the Craft Shop! Enjoy our photos and stop on by the Craft Shop to find out more about our events.

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Pushing the Handmade Envelope

“What do you like best about the Folk School?” I asked an eight-year-old friend.

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Playing all Day at John C. Campbell Folk School

To have the freedom we had as children: to explore, to try new things, to dabble, to be alright with not being good at it, to immerse ourselves and relinquish all responsibilities for awhile… sound good? Since 1925, John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC has been answering the call of adults who want to have fun learning about music, art, nature, crafts, gardening, cooking, storytelling and writing.

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Feeling Groovy in the Craft Shop

Just in time for Little/Middle

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In the Printmaking Studio with Gay Bryant

The ten participants watched, listened,…

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Mill House Painting Found in an Unexpected Place

Look what friend of the Folk School, Liz Dahmen, found at an estate sale in Beacon, NY this past weekend:

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From Sheep to Shawl and Back Again: My Interview with Martha Owen

I stopped by the Yarn Circle on a Monday afternoon to speak with Martha Owen, our beloved longtime Resident Artist in Spinning, Knitting, Dyeing and Felt Making. We talked about many things including fiber arts, raising sheep, travel, artistic process, Fair Isle, her rich history with the Folk School, and more. Enjoy our interview!

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Basket Making is Good for Your Health: Leah Dolgoy Interviews Jan Stansell

When I found out Pattie Bagley (Resident Artist for Baskets, Brooms, and Chair Seats/local mischief maker) was teaching an introductory rib baskets class, I knew I wanted a spot in the class. Right before coming down to the Folk School to begin my term as a second-time host, I completed my masters degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) – a rehabilitation profession that focuses on working with people to regain function and get back to meaningful occupation (self-care, leisure and work) after illness, injury or disability. Traditionally OTs have used crafts such as basket-weaving as a way to work on rehabilitation-related goals. There is also a strong connection between OT and the Folk School. Murray Martin, who was integral to the growth and success of the Brasstown carvers, was trained as an occupational therapist.  For all these reasons, I knew it would be a special week for me. What I didn’t know was that Jan Stansell, an expert basket-maker, long-time Folk School instructor, and recent stroke survivor, would be one of my classmates. 

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Celebrating Love: Valentine’s Week at the Folk School

It’s Valentine’s Day here at the Folk School.  I caught up with some friends and classmates this week to hear more about what folks are doing to mark the occasion.

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Autoharp: It’s Not a Harpsichord! My Interview with Karen Mueller

As a host at the Folk School, sometimes really incredible opportunities come your way. Karen Mueller is an innovative, virtuosic musician and highly sought after music educator. I recently took Karen Mueller’s intermediate-advanced autoharp class and weekend beginner mountain dulcimer class back-to-back. At the end of our time together, she agreed to sit down with me and answer a few of my questions about her life, career, and relationship to the Folk School. 

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Socks and Sweaters: Expand Your Knitting Horizons with Margaret Radcliffe

Margaret Radcliffe is teaching two Knitting classes next month at the Folk School: My First Sock (Feb. 28 – March 2 / Weekend) and the Easiest Sweaters in the World (March 2-8). Come learn new techniques to take your garment knitting to the next level (or the first level if you are new to socks and sweaters). I chatted with Margaret about Knitting, the Folk School, and what it is like to write about Knitting. Enjoy our interview!

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Indigo Fun at the Folk School

Cindy Alley wrote a great blog about her experience as a student in last week’s “Yoruba Batik, Adire, and Tie Dye” with Gasali Adeyemo (Oct. 20-25, 2013):

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AARP “Culinary Travel” Feature

AARP has written an article called “Culinary Travel” featuring the Folk School in AARP The Magazine!

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If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out with Aubrey Atwater

Using clogging, music and storytelling to charm Folk School audiences since 1996, Aubrey exudes a talent, grace, and humor unique to only the most tenured and talented of performers. Aubrey returns to the Folk School this September to teach two dynamite classes: Singing with Clawhammer Banjo (Sept. 8-13) and Clogging (Sept. 13-15 – Weekend). She is also scheduled to perform in special Thursday night concert, Sept. 12, 7 p.m. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to learn to play, laugh, sing, and dance with Aubrey this fall!

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Interview with Annie Fain Liden-Barralon

The Folk School is so happy to welcome Annie Fain Liden-Barralon to the position of Music and Dance Coordinator! I sat down with Annie Fain to find out about her experience growing up in the Folk School community and what it’s like to return as the Music and Dance Coordinator.

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Spiderman Swings Into the Folk School!

So let me preface this blog entry with the fact that I grew up reading comic books (or as I would have argued adamantly at one point—graphic novels), and much to my wife’s chagrin I still have several subscriptions to this day.  My father grew up reading comics and he passed them on to me.  I read his Uncle Scrooge, Batman, Dick Tracy, Lone Ranger, MAD, Superman and other Atomic Age comics until they literally fell apart.  For good or bad that set me on a path of buying and collecting thousands of comics.

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The Secret Life of June Rollins

June Rollins is one of our favorite Craft Shop people and bloggers here at the Folk School. But did you know that June is also an awesome artist? This Easter, June painted an awesome portrait of Edward, our beloved Rooster and we loved the card so much, we wanted to find out more about June Rollins’ artistic ventures!

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Recycled Art with Kim Joris

Kim Joris is a Folk School instructor who is teaching The Art of Reuse: Working with Found Objects to three remarkable students this week.

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Dexter Dockery’s Graceful Birds Are Now Gracing The Craft Shop

We love to see smiling, Dexter Dockery, who began carving at age 18 and is a lifetime member of the Southern Highland Handcraft Guild, come into the Craft Shop with his graceful, hand-carved birds.

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Working Under the Star – Part III

Part III:  Folk School Staff with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Connections

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Working Under the Star – Part II

Part II:   Who were these AFSC people, anyway?

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Easter Basket Keepsakes

Some Bunnies Need A Home

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Recipes fo a Seasonal Dinner Party by Stephanie Burnette

A perk of a class named The Art of the Seasonal Dinner Party is the Wednesday night 4-course meal! Here are a few of the recipes from the evening and a picture of each course. What a wonderful group of 10! Students invited a guest and a merry feast was had by all on the evening of Feb 27, 2013. It was a magical night in the Cooking Studio.

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Holiday Style at the Folk School

What do chickens, flags, pinwheels, dancing ladies, stars, and tiny gingerbread houses have in common?

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A Morning Walk Through the Folk School

I first met Emily my very first week at the Folk School in January of 2011. I was a work/study and she was teaching bread making. That week, snow had dumped onto the campus leaving sheets of white across the fields and a chill in our bones (our main task as work-studies was to clear the paths and walkways). I vividly remember working Monday afternoon outside the cooking studio and Emily appeared at the door to invite us to come in and taste some warm, freshly baked bread. It was delicious!

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Betsy Henn Bailey: 36 Years at Fall Festival

Betsy Henn Bailey celebrates her 36th year as a Fall Festival vendor and artist. A local artist and teacher in the Brasstown and Murphy area for over 40 years, Betsy has had a great influence on art and culture in our community. The week before the 39th Annual Fall Festival I talked to Betsy about the festival, her art, and her Folk School memories.

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Quilting Portraits in the Landscape

“Personal Places–Portraits in the Landscape” focused on working from photos to depict a story through an art quilt accomplished during the week. Our class was small, but that turned out to be a blessing. This class is very intense, there is a lot of information to process in five days.

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A Week of Puppetry at the Folk School

The Folk School catalog offers a class category titled “Unique Offerings” and this year I was lucky enough to be there when a Unique Offering class, “Hand-and-Rod Puppet Construction” was in session. Teacher David Stevens taught this class with his purple assistant, Lobert. David was funny, but with Lobert he was hilarious. He’s also a great banjo player and singer.

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Franklinia Blooming Outside Field House

The Folk School has been making efforts to use native plants in our landscapes and there is a very interesting one in bloom right now at the Field House. Franklinia alatamaha, or the Franklin Tree, is a rare shrub or small tree of the Tea Family which was discovered in Georgia in the 1700’s by naturalists John and William Bartram. They brought specimen seeds and plants back to Philadelphia where it was propagated and named in honor of the Bartrams’ friend Benjamin Franklin. However, the Franklinia has never again been found in the wild (since 1803) and the remaining plants are descendants of the Bartrams’ collected specimens.

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Brasstown Dancers greet Olympic Torch, win the Wickham Cup

Brasstown Morris Dancers greeted the Olympic Torch in Kenilworth, England, and brought home the “Gold” of West Yorkshire Morris Dancing. Except it’s not gold and they didn’t bring it home. The Wickham Cup, actually a silver plated mug, remains in its place of honor in England, but newly inscribed with the name Dame’s Rocket.

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Making Planes That Don’t Fly

I recently got the chance to take my first Woodworking class here at the Folk School. It was the “Making a Traditional Moulding Plane” class, where we made a variety of 19th century quarter sawn beech planes using antiques as examples, and using many antique tools to do the work. It was  a great class that had been very skillfully prepared and presented. It was taught by Bill Anderson and Peter Ross.

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What Exactly is Blacksmith Work Week?

I sat down with Paul Garrett, the Folk School’s resident blacksmith, to find out a little bit more about the mysterious and unique annual event known as Blacksmith Work Week.

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Celebrating our Elders

This afternoon, many of our older citizens gathered in the Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall for the annual Old Folks Party. They celebrated the holidays, visited with each other, shared stories and memories, and enjoyed music, games, and a delicious meal. For many of them, their parents or grandparents were responsible in part for the Folk School being located in Brasstown. When the school started in 1925, hundreds of local residents pledged their support through physical labor, teams of mules, money, and even land donations. Many of the skills we teach at the Folk School today were passed down through these generations, often grandparents teaching children weaving, wood carving, or chair making.

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Late November Landscape

The cast of color has changed greatly from earlier this month, from the hillsides around us which showed mostly the deeper russet reds and burnt oranges.  A few individual trees around the Folk School campus still glowed with vibrant oranges and yellows.  In this glorious fall, those who were here to study and play were surrounded by landscape colors changing and twirling to the ground every day. Work-study students prepared the garden for wintering over. November brought the mists again when the rains came. Patches of sunlight on the mountainsides revealed soft grays topped with pale burnished golds polished by the sun.

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Learning Guitar at the Folk School

“What was I thinking?” passed through my mind several times last week while I sat in “Intro Guitar” class at the Folk School. In other studios, I imagined, students happily wove Shaker rugs or rolled polymer clay into intricate beads. Why had I signed up for a music class? My left fingers hurt from pressing on the steel guitar strings, I couldn’t change from a G chord to a D chord fast enough, and I’d probably never get “Goodnight Irene” out of my head again.

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Danes Learn About Our Folk School

Somewhere in Denmark right now, our documentary video, Sing Behind the Plow, is being viewed by hundreds of Danes who are being introduced to Brasstown’s version of a folk school. Lissi Oland, a woodturner who lived and taught in Brasstown for many years, and has since returned to her native Denmark, is hosting an exhibit of her large woodturnings, as well as historic photographs of the early days of the Folk School. The photographs were taken in the 1920’s by Folk School’s co-founder, Marguerite Butler Bidstrup, with whom Lissi was very close.

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A Colorful Tradition: Fall Festival Banners

 Thirty-eight years ago, the very first Folk School Fall Festival was held by Open House beside the large fields. Gus and Maggie Masters, then directors of the Folk School, were enamellists who were used to selling their art at shows and festivals. So they simply brought to the Folk School and local artists a festival of our own!

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Fun For the Whole Family!

This week’s rug weaving teacher, Nancy Crampton, says her idea of a vacation is a change of pace- trying something new. Her family must agree. For seven years now, Nancy’s family, including her husband, son, daughter, and son-in-law, have made the Folk School an annual family vacation. They are taking (and in Nancy’s case, teaching) different classes, but the Folk School experience is something they enjoy sharing together. Nancy, who initially came to the Folk School to take an enameling class from a favorite instructor, says her family enjoys the air of creativity that permeates the campus.

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Natural Vine Basketry

For the ten students who attended last week’s Natural Vine Basketry class, every basket they made began with a walk in the woods.  The 6-day class began Sunday night with an orientation by instructor and basketmaker Matt Tommey (http://www.matttommey.com) that included information on how to identify, gather and prepare natural materials for basketweaving.  After plenty of questions and a good night’s rest, the class headed for the woods on Monday morning.

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New Instructor in Blacksmithing

Last week we welcomed Bob Rupert of Pennsylvania, and his assistant Gary Cooper to the Spencer/Whitaker Blacksmith Shops for their first visit to Brasstown. They both quickly acclimated to the new Five Star facility, and found it easy to fall into the spirit of the Folk School during the week.

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Two Blacksmiths are Living at my House

The following is a post by local blogger, Tipper Wilson Pressley. Visit Tipper’s blog, Blind Pig & the Acorn about all things Appalachia.

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Timber Framing Class Produces Pergola

Charles Judd’s recent timber framing class (May 22-28) contributed a wonderful addition to our campus: a pergola in front of the Willard Baxter Woodturning Studio. Students worked as a team to create a traditional timber frame using mortise and tenon joinery and wood pegs.

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Many Fine Tunes: A Brief History of Dancing at the Folk School

The stories of our lives where dance and song are called for, go back to faraway lands where kings and villagers alike danced for joy.  Dance as a way to express joy that cannot be contained is part of many legends across the globe.  I know that you understand what I am talking about.  The many threads of our Southern Appalachian story can be seen beginning with the Singing Games or Play Party Games, which are a long time part of a vibrant mountain culture.  Almost any occasion where the earliest settlers and pioneers gathered, there was time to sing, clap, laugh,  and stomp in time with the music they created.  Not too different from what we do now, whenever we are together!

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Pushing Your Limits at the Folk School by Alan Leland

Woodturning instructor, Alan Leland, tells us why he loves teaching at the Folk School:

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Follow These Tweets! Birding at the Folk School

The Folk School’s campus, which for its size, is very rich in birdlife, is a perfect setting for “Birds of Southern Appalachia,” …

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A Visit to Hill House, Original Home of Murray Martin

I had never been to Murray Martin’s house (Hill House) before today. I met Murray many years ago when she used to attend Resident Artist, Billie Shelburn’s painting classes. Murray Martin came to Brasstown in 1935 and was a craft teacher at the Folk School during the time of Folk School founders, Olive Campbell and Marguerite Bidstrup. She certainly gave a lot to the school and the community. To help local folks make a better living, the Brasstown Carvers were mentored by Murray and rose to a place of national recognition for their carvings. She retired in 1973 and lived in Hill House from the 1970’s until her death in 2005.

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Peeking in During Blacksmith Work Week

Blacksmith Work Week is a wonderful annual tradition at the Folk School where blacksmiths from all over come and volunteer their time to do smithing projects around campus and make improvements in the Shop. It’s been 15 or 20 years that they have gathered here every spring, for Blacksmith Work Week, so Paul Garrett, the Resident Blacksmith tells me. When I visited, there were about 20 men and at least one woman circling like bees. They are all over the balconies, in corners and down on the floor.  Red hot metal is being pounded beside blazing forges, power hammers have metal running through at a rapid speed, and components are being welded together.  It is high-level intensity with professional focus in the shop today.  No students are here; the blacksmiths are giving their time and talent to retrofit the Francis Whitaker Blacksmith Shop. What was the primary blacksmith shop is now being set up for material storage, welding, grinding, and drilling. A few forges have been left in place for this studio.

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On Being a Folk School Host

Becky Souris, who recently finished her four months of hosting, shares thoughts on her time at the Folk School.

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Scandinavian Ironwork

Charley Orlando and Doug Merkel taught “Early Scandinavian Ironwork for Everyone” during Scandinavian Week.

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Jewelry Class Completes Studio Funding

It started in 1999. Four long-time friends decided to take a class together at the Folk School. Based on the time they had off, and their similar interests, they chose a jewelry class taught by our Resident Artist in jewelry, Barbara Joiner. They probably didn’t suspect that their week long class would turn into a 12 year (and running) tradition that reunites a special, tight-knit group of friends, while giving them the opportunity to hone their jewelry and metalsmithing skills. The original group of four expanded throughout the years, and now about 8 people are considered “regulars” each year in Barbara’s class. Students come from Georgia, Mississippi, Ohio, and beyond to take advantage of Barbara’s expertise to work independently on their own projects. (This year’s class was called “Unfinished Business.”)

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A Spring Haiku

Poem Inspired by the Spring Garden by Carla Owen

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Meaningful Imagery Meets Traditional Quilting

Quilting instructor Marilyn Wall first discovered Art Quilts at an American Quilter’s Society show in Kentucky. Employing the folk learning process, Marilyn “blundered through” teaching herself to make her first art quilt, which is still a favorite among those who view her galleries of work. Art quilting takes a mixed-media perspective, which is well suited to Marilyn’s background in photography and painting.

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Bi-Color Brioche and Double Knitting

We recently had a very interesting first time instructor here, Christa Knidt Newhouse, who taught a weekend class of Bi-Color Brioche Knitting. She also brought with her some amazing double knitted garments that she had designed herself. One particularly impressive piece was a long, knit sweater with an intricate scene of Chicago, which took Christa five months to complete. Christa is a self-taught double knitter, who quickly picked up the process after seeing it in a book. Double knitting produces two layers and a reversible pattern using circular needles and two balls of yarn.

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Hill House Plant Motifs

It is an absolutely gorgeous day here at the Folk School, 65 and sunny. I decided it was a prime day to get out and do some photography for a grant I am writing for the Hill House, the historic home of Brasstown Carver mentor, Murray Martin. One of the things I wanted to get a shot of was the plant motifs on all of the window casings and doors. These carvings were done by the Belgian engineer, Leon Deschamps, who designed many of the Folk School’s original buildings. After scrambling out one of the living room windows onto the front porch, I was able to get a couple of good shots of these unique images.

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Sculpting Critters in Steel

We recently had local artist/blacksmith Joe Miller back to teach his popular “Critters” class in the blacksmith shop for one of January’s advanced weeks. The class is a combination of forging and fabricating, and the students make a critter or two of their choice that might be some kind of a fish, a bird, spider of a animal of just about any species.

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Through the Years: Julie Sibley Reflects on 25 Years at JCCFS

By Julie  Sibley,  Artist, Designer &  Celebrating 25 years  this year, of being a faculty member at the  John C. Campbell Folk School

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Cheese Making Is Whey Cool

The Cooking Studio is a nice place to be during the summer.  The windows along two sides of the building look out to the fields and herb garden.  Inside the kitchen is bright and clean and, while class is going on, full of hustle and bustle.  I stopped in during Mary Lou Surgi’s cheese making class and it looked like so much fun!

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A New Era

Today, we opened the new Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop. After a week of moving some of the tools and tables and things from the the old Francis Whitaker shop, we are ready to teach classes again, and welcome instructor Judy Berger, her son David, and the students of Intergenerational Week.

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Last Class in the Historic Blacksmith Shop

The second weekend of  July saw the last forging class in the historic Francis Whitaker Blacksmith Shop. Jerry Darnell was here to teach his “Colonial Lighting” class. Interestingly, Jerry was here for the first class that Francis ever taught here at the Folk School in the mid-seventies, and said that he drove something like six hundred miles to be here and see this man that everyone was talking about. That class was in the older shop across the street – the Oscar Cantrell shop.

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Dance Musicians’ Week 2010

Here we are at John C. Campbell Folk School for another week of music and dancing.  This is the seventeenth year of this fantastic class, with dancing every night for everyone, and dancing and playing every day for the 21 instructors and students participating in the class.

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Sidewalk Discovered in Front of History Center!

The last few mornings in the History Center, I have been downstairs putting together our latest exhibit.  While I was absorbed in my thoughts of arranging textiles in glass display cases, I finally glanced up to notice Danny Wilson outside the window, on his hands and knees, busily working away.   It turns out, Danny was in the process of uncovering a long forgotten sidewalk, steps, iron rail, and front door in front of the History Center building!  Danny, of course, had known what lay beneath the layers of compressed soil, rusted farm implements, poison ivy vines, and lilies of the valley.

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One Step Closer

A couple of weekends ago, we had a few blacksmiths over for a mini work weekend. Really just a continuation of our annual work week, it was a chance to get some more work done in the new forge building, now officially the Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop.

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Jan Recaps Little Middle 2010

The Folk School recently completed Little Folk School and Middle Folk School–“Little Middle” or “L/M” as it looms on our planning calendars.  There were 284 students: 156 Little (age 7-12) and 128 Middle (age 13-17), mostly locals, in 26 classes with 30 amazing teachers and a 37-member volunteer crew.

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Calling Class: Learning by Doing

Summer is here and so is Little/Middle Folk School.  While the campus is taken over by kick ball, card games, picnics, and the fire truck that stopped by on Tuesday to spray the kids off – there is still one adult class happening, and that’s Dance Caller’s Week.

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Folk School in the Beginning of June

It’s raining again, and if this were boy-scout camp, there’d be a lot of soggy tents, unroasted marshmallows, and unhappy campers.  But here at the John C. Campbell Folk School, each shower puts another bud on the lilies and another apple on the bough over at Orchard House, which will make for fine cider come the Fall Festival.  Over one hundred people have gathered to weave backpacks from straw, piece fabric into quilted jackets, build their own mountain dulcimer or learn to play one–just a few of the projects this week.

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Weaving and History

Last week has been a wonderful exploration into weaving history for me!  My dear friend and “weaving Mom,” Barbara Miller and I traveled to Berea College in Kentucky. We spent several long days looking through archives on early weaving programs at settlement schools in the Appalachian region.

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A Ploughing Demonstration in the Garden

Last Friday, Folk School students, staff, and community members excitedly

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Blacksmiths at Work

Every time I come to Brasstown, I’m not sure what to expect.  So many things happen here, each studio existing as a world of it’s own, and there is always so much to see and be a part of.

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A Week of Aran Knitting Class with Charley Orlando

What is Aran knitting anyway?  Aran knitting, sometimes called fisherman style, comes from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  Knitters use one color of yarn to create textured patterns like cables, diamonds, and bobbles.

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Metalwork Instructors Buy Beams

Last week, metalwork instructor Bob Trout stopped by my office to talk about the upcoming Gala and Benefit Auction (June 12) and to let me know that he and his fellow instructor, John Rausch would both be purchasing beams in the New Forge Building. Bob, being the enthusiastic supporter that he is, asked if he could speak at “show-and-tell” to hopefully encourage fellow students to match their generous gifts. It is always wonderful to see students and instructors who are so passionate about the School!