interview Tag

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! [caption id="attachment_17399" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Courtyard at Castello di Colognole, Greve in Chianti, Tuscany. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.[/caption] CP: How did you get started in photography? EL: Inspired by my dad, who is a retired travel writer & photojournalist now, I decided to take a semester of beginning photography in college & started working part-time in a camera store. Then I moved into assisting well-established photographers, both commercial & wedding/portrait and the rest is history. I got hooked! [caption id="attachment_17400" align="alignright" width="286"] View from gardens at Castello di Colognole overlooking vineyards and olive groves. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.[/caption] CP: What is your favorite subject matter to shoot? EL: In my spare time, I love to photograph flowers/plants/gardens and travel photography, whenever I get the opportunity. I enjoy photographing people too, but this is what I do professionally full time (weddings, portraits, headshots, events). The other aspect of photography is what I do for fun and inspiration. However, I have been paid for some of my work when it comes to travel & garden photography. I also have a current show of my travel photography at a local winery, and those prints are for sale. In addition, I have a photo on the same NC Winery/Vineyard’s wine label & they’ve used it every year since 2009. I’m an avid gardener and I love to travel and photography is another love so putting them together makes sense. CP: Nikon or Canon? EL: Canon photographer. I had the opportunity to shoot with a Nikon earlier this summer and I admit I liked it! However, it’s too late to switch. I have too much invested in Canon! I still love my Leica CL film camera and I have a Pentax K1000 that I occasionally run B&W infrared film through. CP: What is your favorite lens? What is always in your gear bag? EL: I use my 24-70mm/f2.8 “L” lens most often but also love my 80-200mm/f 2.8 “L” lens but it’s so heavy! Also an old favorite is my 100mm Macro 2.8 lens for close ups. I always have back-up equipment in my bag, plenty of batteries, and memory cards. Back-up equipment is crucial when you photograph weddings.

[caption id="attachment_17140" align="aligncenter" width="630"] Enameled Bowl by Sienna[/caption] The summertime at the Folk School offers two opportunities for people under the age of 18 to take classes at the Folk School: Little/Middle Folk School and Intergenerational Week. For many young people, this is an ongoing tradition, so what happens when you turn 18 and age out of these programs? Do not fret, you are not banished from the Folk School! On the contrary, now you can take ANY class all year long. I recently met Sienna Bosch, an 18-year-old recent high school graduate from Fort Collins, CO who was taking "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! [caption id="attachment_17139" align="alignright" width="278"] Sienna Bosch[/caption]

CP: Had you been to the Folk School before this trip?

SB: I had never been to the Folk School before this trip. I had heard a lot about it from my sister and parents, but this was my first time at the Folk School. CP: Do you have a favorite craft? SB: I don't necessarily have a favorite, I work mostly in wood, metal, and wire, but I really enjoy trying new things and experimenting with a variety of crafts. [caption id="attachment_17137" align="alignleft" width="300"] Enameled Bowl by Sienna[/caption] CP: Why did you decide to take Enameling? SB: I decided to take enameling because it was something that I had never tried before, but was interested in. I had seen pictures of enameled copper and was curious what the process was like. There were many classes that sounded interesting to me, but enameling really sparked my interest.

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! CP: Congratulations on being the very first instructor to teach class in our brand new Book and Paper Arts Studio! So what drew you letterpress printing? Why is the medium meaningful to you? JW: When I was a printmaking grad student at the University of Iowa, I made drawings and prints that combined images with text. One day, a friend saw me struggle with different methods of printing the text on a lithograph, and he suggested letterpress. He showed me how to set and print one line of text, and I haven't stopped since! For me, letterpress printing started as and still is a means to an end; I like all types of printmaking, but my love of text always brings me back to letterpress because it's the perfect method to printing my work. CP: How would you describe your work? JW: My work tends to be humorous and looks sweetly charming, but there is a philosophical and slightly dark side. I've been told that my work is "what you get if Beatrix Potter crashed into Edward Gorey." [caption id="attachment_16857" align="aligncenter" width="630"] "Never Mind the Bears" letterpress print by Jessica White[/caption]

The intricate paper cuts of Ingrid Lavoie draw you into a fantastic world of whimsy, nature, and storytelling. She is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) who fell in love with papercutting while on vacations visiting family in Denmark. Self-taught, she found her rhythm and style by using an X-Acto knife to "draw" images, instead of scissors. 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!

Tom Patterson has been a hand engraver and metalsmith for more than 50 years. Starting in his father's shop at age 14, he has been a lifelong student of metals and their manipulation. Currently, Tom continues his studies from his home studio in the mountains of western NC, where he fabricates artifacts of astonishing peculiarity. Unsure of what a hobo nickel is, I resisted the urge to google and decided to sit down with Tom and find out a bit more about the class. Enjoy our interview! [caption id="attachment_16076" align="alignright" width="150"] Hobo nickel by renowned original era carver Bertram "Bert" Wiegand[/caption] CP: What is a hobo nickel? TP: It’s a modified Indian Head Buffalo nickel and the profile of the Indian or the buffalo on either side has been modified to be something else. It was commonly used by hobos during the Great Depression to increase the value of a nickel. They could trade it for a ride, buy a meal, or buy off a train cop. People started liking hobo nickels and then coin collectors start to collect hobo nickels. Some of nickels created by carvers during the Depression Era became so valuable that modern people, who had some engraving ability, began to buy nickels from coin dealers to copy and counterfeit these original hobos. The counterfeit artist would get the big bucks for their “collectable” nickel. They were discovered, and instead of being discredited, they were celebrated and collected for their own abilities. So today, even though it is definitely a niche, there are a lot of hobo nickel carvers. One of the famous carvers, he had this little kit, or box, of his handmade tools, and it went to auction a few years back and it sold for $9000. The old original nickels are worth thousands of dollars now and some of the new nickels are worth a lot of money too.

[caption id="attachment_15948" align="aligncenter" width="630"]Children make cookies for the Holiday Kids Party Children make cookies for the Holiday Kids Party[/caption] The month of December is a special time at the Folk School. Events, parties, food, themed classes, concerts, dances and performances unite the community in the holiday spirit. When the wreaths, garlands, and handcrafted ornaments appear in early December, we know the magic of the season has arrived. Recently, I connected with Nanette Davidson, our longtime decorating maven and mastermind, to ask about holiday traditions at the Folk School. Enjoy our interview! [caption id="attachment_15944" align="alignright" width="228"]davidson_nanette_9510 Nanette in the Cooking Studio[/caption] CP: When does the holiday season begin for you? ND: Well, I think about this off and on through out the year, planning simple projects for the winter holiday season and for spring's May Day and June's Auction Gala sometimes many months in advance. I have asked for help from other artists and dancers in the community to generate handmade decorations including giant puppets for parades. Jan and I love the seasonal celebrations that come from many rural, agricultural communities. When you live in the Appalachian countryside where there are distinct perennial landscapes, it's easy to celebrate the beauty of the changing seasons. CP: What is your favorite Folk School December holiday tradition? ND: We have so many great parties in December for the local community as well as our students who come in for a week. In the original days of the JCCFS, the student body was closely tied to the community and seasonal events were held to pull everyone together. We still want to include our local community and they are present here at weekly dances and concerts. We have the Old Folks Party, Christmas Dance/Dessert Potluck, New Year's Eve Dance, and the Children's Party when Santa arrives in the BFD Firetruck, sirens wailing. I have always helped with the Children's Party which includes crafts, musical chairs, storytelling, Morris performance, homemade cookies, and live music and dance for the kids. Even though we are an adult school we reach out to our local kids at Christmas and in the summer. More and more show up on the dance floor now. Every child that has a great folk school experience can help us preserve the school for the future.

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. [caption id="attachment_15383" align="aligncenter" width="630"]IMG_9447 Jodi and her son Jasper show off their gingerbread house creations.[/caption] GumDropCP: What do you like about gingerbread houses? JR: The first time I ever made a gingerbread house, I was enchanted. I really felt like I wanted to become miniature and live inside the house! It feels completely magical and fantastical to create a little home out of candy and sweet gingerbread, and the smells, and textures (and of course, tastes, because there’s always scrap pieces of gingerbread that need to be eaten!) are uniquely pleasurable to the senses. [caption id="attachment_15381" align="alignright" width="226"]DSCF0591 Photo by Nicole McConville[/caption] CP: Do you have to be architecturally skilled to make a good gingerbread house? Who is the ideal student for your class? JR: You do not have to be architecturally skilled to build a gingerbread house! The icing and the candy make it very forgiving. Like most things worth doing, though, it does take time. We will spend a good amount of time in the planning phase, cutting and measuring templates to create the right sizes for the pieces. I also always like to bake extra pieces, in case something breaks or bakes wonky. CP: Have you ever participated in the National Gingerbread house Competition is at the Grove Park Inn? Did the proximity of this annual event in Asheville influence your interest in gingerbread house making? JR: It has always been my dream to enter a house into the competition at the Grove Park Inn, though up until now I have been too busy with my business, Short Street Cakes, to seriously consider it. But now that I have sold my business to my employee, this just might be the right time!