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Want to play an instrument to accompany singing?
Don’t want to sing?  Just have fun strumming along.
Four fingers, four strings… the ukulele was made for you!

Try Beginning Ukulele with instructor Peter Thomas February 22-27.

Learn basic chords, keys and styles like Hapa-Haole, Tin Pan Alley, old timey, bluegrass, folk, and rock – the uke can handle them all!

Thomas_Peter_MU_BA_ 2_BIO


Peter has fond memories of his dad playing the ukulele. Peter says his dad only knew three chords, but could sing and play any song with just those three cords. Peter grew up singing old songs to the the strumming of the uke.

Time went by and Peter learned to play guitar and bass. In the early 1990’s his brother mentioned he had a ukulele and that he should get one too, and they could play along with their dad.

Peter bought his first ukulele at a flea market. It was a nice Aloha Royal Hawaiian ukulele for only twenty bucks. With the old instruction manual, he tuned up the uke to A,D, F#, B (what he now calls the mainland tuning) like the manual told him to do and learned the chords.

The family didn’t form a band together, but he and his dad enjoyed playing songs like “Moonlight Bay,” “Pretty Baby,” and “Dark Town Strutter’s Ball.” He fell in love with the ukulele and brought it with him everywhere he went.


In 2002, Peter founded the Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz with Andy Andrews. From that time he has been leading ukulele bands, selling ukuleles, ukulele books and teaching ukulele lessons.

Peter Thomas will be teaching Beginning Ukulele, February 22-27 at the Folk School.

For more information or to register, please our visit the website:

Visit Peter Thomas’ website.



How to Make a Modern Quilt taught by Christa Watson.

Have you always wondered what makes a quilt “modern?” Come learn how to make one with instructor Christa Watson as she teaches you all the steps needed to complete a quilt from start to finish. Along the way, she will share key points of the modern aesthetic along with a little history of the modern movement.


A happy student shows off her Modern Log Cabin block.


Modern quilts can be liberating while they allow you to explore the boundaries of what is possible. Good technique is still important, and everyone’s quilts will end up being unique, while still following the same construction process.

Christa Watson is an enthusiastic and experienced instructor and award-winning quilter who loves to encourage others to find joy in making. Living with her husband and three children in Las Vegas, Nevada, she currently writes a column titled “Quilt as Desired” for the National Quilting Association. Look for Christa’s book, “Machine Quilting With Style” in the summer of 2015 from Martingale/That Patchwork Pace.


Christa loves to teach as much as her students love to learn!

Register for “How to Make a Modern Quilt” (March 8-14, 2015):

Learn more about Christa on her blog:


Forging the Past Into the Future

by Cory Marie Podielski on January 6, 2015

in Blacksmithing, Featured Classes

Knives forge in

Knives forged in “The American Hand-forged Knife.”

We have a natural human desire to discover our heritage and celebrate the ways our ancestors survived and thrived. At the Folk School, we offer many Blacksmithing classes offering a window to that past. From the Civil War, to Ancient Scotland, to Medieval times, to Colonial America – many of us are drawn to certain eras and cultures. Come to the forge and celebrate techniques, styles, and aesthetics from days gone by. Check out this list of classes that may interest the old soul smith in you:


Resident Blacksmith Paul Garrett at the anvil

Arts and Crafts Ironwork
Paul Garrett • February 22-27 (A Salute to the Arts & Crafts Movement Week)

Expand your skills as a blacksmith while immersing in the timeless elegance of the Arts and Crafts style. Explore traditional and modern techniques of forging, joining, and finishing metals to create strong, simple, and functional designs based on those of Greene & Greene, Stickley, Roycroft, and others. Gain professional shop knowledge, resources, and some toolmaking skills in this intermediate to advanced class. Basic blacksmithing skills required.


Projects forged in Viking-style Ironwork.

Viking-style Ironwork
Elmer Roush • March 22-28 (Scandinavian Heritage Week)

Do you enjoy blacksmithing with a historical perspective? This class will focus on reproducing 10th-century Viking relics, including spearheads, axes, arrowheads, and locks. Drawings and tracings of original pieces will be available as guides. Knowledge of how to build and maintain a forge fire and basic blacksmithing skills are needed. Scandinavian Heritage Week honors the Folk School’s roots, inspired by “folkehøjskole” of these northern European countries. In the company of newfound friends, you will enjoy special food, music, dance, and craft traditional to the region.

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Kick Your Heels Up for Clogging

by Cory Marie Podielski on January 4, 2015

in Featured Classes, Music & Dance

Folk School Cloggers perform on the Fall Festival Barn Stage

Folk School Cloggers perform on the Fall Festival Barn Stage

With the arrival of 2015, exercise, learning, and self-improvement are on all our minds right now. A clogging class at the Folk School is a great way to learn something new, all while getting your heart rate up at the same time. Clogging is unique because you move to the rhythm and also interpret the music to create percussion with your feet… we like to call clogging “old-time aerobics” up here in the mountains.

Come learn more about these traditional percussive dance styles in three exciting weekend clogging classes scheduled in 2015:

Emolyn clogs on the Fall Festival Stage with Jamie Laval

Emolyn on the Fall Festival Stage with Jamie Laval

Appalachian Clogging
Emolyn Liden
(February 27-March 1)

Start a joyful hobby that is great exercise, too. Join Emolyn, who has been dancing her entire life, to learn a variety of percussive steps and short group routines to wonderful, live fiddle music. You’ll soon be dancing to your heart’s content! The only requirement is a basic level of fitness to stand and be active for a couple of hours at a time.

Emolyn is a Brasstown native. Exposed constantly to traditional music and dance, she started clogging and contra dancing at a very young age and has not stopped pursuing her love of different forms of dance. She has danced with the Cane Creek Cloggers of Chapel Hill, the Green Grass Cloggers of Asheville, with fiddler Jamie Laval, and with Cape Breton step-dancing team, The Twisty Cuffs. Enjoy her blog at

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Shoe Making Never “Felt” So Good

by Cory Marie Podielski on December 30, 2014

in Featured Classes, Unique Offerings

A variety of felted footwear created in Kay and Peggy's class.

A variety of felted footwear created in Kay Patterson and Peggy Patrick’s class.

Bonnie works on her felted shoe.

Bonnie works on her felted shoe.

We are kicking off our 2015 year with many great classes including Handmade Felt Shoes & Boots with Kay Patterson and Peggy Patrick (January 4-10). We love to see the wild, colorful and creative shoes that come out of this popular class.

Each student will make a pair of cozy, custom-fit felt shoes or boots. Use wet-feltmaking techniques to construct colorful uppers, and then discover how to attach a durable, wearable sole. You may add embellishments to your felt through beading, appliqué, or needle felting. Expect to complete at least one pair of shoes or boots in class. Register today!

If you are interested in making shoes with leather uppers check out the additional shoe making classes scheduled in 2015 at the Folk School:

A line-up of completed shoes from Chuck  & Peggy's class

A line-up of completed shoes from Chuck & Peggy’s class

Comfortable, handmade, thin-soled leather shoes by Michael Ismerio

Shoes by Michael Ismerio

10th-century Scandinavian-style Turn Shoe
Michael Ismerio • March 22-28

Tread the earth in comfortable, handmade, thin-soled leather shoes custom-fit to your feet. Using American bison leather for the uppers and recycled rubber soles, learn the necessary steps of pattern making, leather working, and hand sewing to create a pair of shoes that could last a lifetime.

Due to the intensive nature of this project, expect some evening hours. Scandinavian Heritage Week honors the Folk School’s roots, inspired by “folkehøjskole” of these northern European countries. In the company of newfound friends, you will enjoy special food, music, dance, and craft traditional to the region.

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