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Enameled Bowl by Sienna

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!

Sienna Bosch

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.

Enameled Bowl by Sienna

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. [click to continue…]

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The morning after the bloom, a bee visits the Tina James Magic Primrose.

The fresh Evening Primrose blooms at dusk

Our Tina James Magic Primrose plants have been putting on quite a show for the past few weeks at dusk in the Vegetable Garden and behind the Painting Studio. The tightly wound yellow blooms dramatically open as night falls (around 9 p.m.). Before the show starts, visitors walk around the plant to see if they can guess which bloom will lead be the leading note of the overture. Excitement and anticipation is high and it is easy to feel giddy, like a little kid again.

The sepals (the green outside of the flower) peel down the flower and the tightly wound yellow trumpet begins to relax and open. Within seconds, before your very eyes, the blossom opens fully and settles into a large bright yellow flower with a delicate, sweet smell. It’s is like watching time-elapsed photography in real time; it’s just incredible. Each bloom only lasts through the night until mid-morning of the next day, attracting pollinators like bumble bees and butterflies during the morning and large humming bird-sized lunar moths at night. [click to continue…]

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Scottish Heritage Week 2017

by Cory Marie Podielski on June 29, 2017

in Class Picks, Featured Classes, Themed Weeks


Early Scots and Scot-Irish settlers were an integral part of our vibrant Appalachian mountains culture. If you’re of Scottish descent, or have an affinity for the country’s customs and folkways, come enjoy a Scottish Heritage Week class from August 27–September 2. This “taste of Scotland” features diverse crafts, lively music, and savory food – all flavored with intriguing Scottish history and stories. Join us for a Scottish cultural experience this summer.

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We Have Appointed Our New Executive Director!

by Cory Marie Podielski on June 23, 2017

in In the News, New & Noteworthy

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

June 23, 2017

Folk School Names New Executive Director

Jerry Jackson. Photo by Mercedes Jelinek.

Jerry Jackson has been named the new executive director of John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. Jackson, who has served as deputy director of Penland School of Crafts since 2007, will begin work at the school on August 15.

Upon the retirement of its long-serving director, Jan Davidson, the Folk School’s board of directors partnered with Boardwalk Consulting to conduct a wide-ranging national search, and reached out to over 200 potential candidates. Earlier this month the board voted unanimously to appoint Jerry Jackson as its next executive director.

“In Jerry we have a new leader who will inspire and develop our staff, lead strategic planning and operations, and be the engaging voice of our school,” said Trudy Strawn, chair of the John C. Campbell Folk School Board of Directors. “Jerry’s extensive experience, deep commitment to the arts community, personality, and passion will lead the Folk School forward to its centennial in 2025 and beyond.”

During Jackson’s decade at Penland, the school has achieved significant growth and enhancement of programs, facilities and the student experience. Jackson has been responsible for all aspects of operations, including student programming, financial accountability, dining facility, housekeeping, building maintenance and construction and the associated functions. He has provided leadership in strategic planning, managed capital infrastructure projects, and played a key role in support of Penland’s recent $32 million capital campaign.

“Jackson’s hallmarks include passion for the arts, commitment to staff development and collaboration, and focus on the student experience,” stated Carl Dreher, chair of the Folk School’s search committee.

Prior to his decade at Penland, Jackson was executive director of Rocky Mount Arts Center, where he provided leadership and vision for the largest historic preservation site in the southeastern United States.

“I am deeply honored to become part of an organization and community that has profoundly enriched the lives of thousands of individuals for more than 90 years,” said Jackson. “With the support and collaboration of the Folk School and its many friends, I am eager to make a positive contribution to the school and to help ensure a vibrant future for this treasured institution. I look forward to learning and growing together through the many forms of creative expression that collectively define the Folk School experience.”

An artist, collector of craft, and a teacher, Jackson holds a master’s degree in Fine Arts from East Carolina University. His interests include ceramics and painting. Jerry has long been a community leader, serving on the boards of nonprofits including United Way, chambers, and arts and educational institutions. Jerry is married to Jeff Harris, a designer and entrepreneur. They are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren, with another one on the way this fall.

John C. Campbell Folk School provides experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening. Located in scenic Brasstown, NC, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking gardening, nature studies, photography and writing, serving over 6,000 students annually.

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Heavy Metal

by Cory Marie Podielski on June 22, 2017

in Blacksmithing, Class Picks, Featured Classes, Jewelry & Metalwork


You don’t have to be a hard rock fan to enjoy metal at the Folk School. Our blacksmithing, metalworking, jewelry making, and enameling classes showcase metal’s diverse personalities along with functional and decorative styles. Learn to hammer and shape iron or steel into sturdy hooks, striking candlesticks, or mighty axes. Or, create intricate necklaces, brooches, rings, and beautiful decorative pieces. Join us for a weeklong or weekend class, and begin building your own satisfying relationship with metal.

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