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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!

Come see blacksmiths in action forging items in the Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop on October 31 at 7 p.m. Items created will be auctioned off the following day.

See blacksmiths in action forging items in the Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop on October 31 at 7 p.m. Items created will be auctioned off the following day at the Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction.

CP: So, the Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction is coming up on November 1. I hear there’s going to be a new special event on Friday night. Can you talk about that?

PG: I can. Traditionally, there has been a joint meeting of the Appalachian Area Chapter of Blacksmiths (AACB) and NC ABANA at the Folk School during the auction weekend. The meeting is on Saturday morning, bright and early.

Fire place set forged at the "Hammer In" 2013

Fire place set forged at the “Hammer In” 2013

I had been trying to think of a way to expand the meeting and make it more appealing for smiths to stay over on Friday night. Last year, we tried a small invitational Friday night “Hammer In” (A “Hammer In” is where blacksmiths get together and make things collaboratively). It went really well. We made a few things for the auction, including a fireplace set, and it was encouraging enough to try it again this year.

I put the word out to members of the blacksmith chapters and we are expecting quite a few smiths on the evening of October 31st. We are opening the shop up to auction goers to come and see what’s involved in the work and to observe how the items are handcrafted. I believe it will add value and interest to the pieces if folks can see the forging process.

Tim Ryan is going to have a kettle of cooked goodness to offer up for a small cost per bowl. It’s gonna be fun! We are going to have a few set projects: a fire tools set and maybe a sculptural piece. Blacksmiths can forge smaller items too. It’ll be a good crowd.

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I stopped by the Yarn Circle on today 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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Charlotte calls a contra dance in the Community Room.

CP: How long have you been calling at the Folk School?

CC: I came to the Folk School as a Work/Study in the winter of 2006 and I took Bob Dalsemer’s Dance Callers’ Workshop that summer. So technically I’ve been calling since 2006, but I wasn’t calling regularly ’till a little time after that.

CP: Why did you get into dance calling? 

CC: I’d been a contra dancer for a long time. When I was in elementary, high school and college I was involved in other kinds of dance, so I’ve always had a history of being interested in dancing. I wanted to be a provider of the activity as opposed to just a consumer. Recognizing that my skills as a musician might be a little lacking (laughs), I embraced calling as the next fun way I could be able to do that.

Charlotte & Charlie

Charlotte & Charlie

CP: What’s the best thing about calling a dance at the Folk School?

CC: What a good question! I’d say the dance community at the Folk School is one of the best for integrating all kinds of different folks. People who have been dancing for years and years and years are dancing on the same floor as those who have never ever done it before. Little kids all the way up to folks in their 70s and 80s – all on the same dance floor and everyone’s having a great time, enjoying each other’s company. That’s the best part!

CP: Do you have a favorite tune?

CC: I really like the old time tune called Growling & Grumbling, which I love as a dance tune. It got this great low, mumbly beginning and then it busts into this fun, upbeat tune.

CP: Is that the same tune as Growling Old Man and Grumbling Old Woman?

CC: Yep! That’s the one! It a great tune.

CP: Where do you get your dances from?

CC: Oh goodness! Lots of sources. Primarily (and I’d say traditionally) from other callers, but also from going to other dances. I’ll go to a dance and enjoy something that I just danced, run over to the side and write it down real quick.

So I collect dances from dancing. I collect dances from other callers. And in our modern day & age, the internet is a wonderful place, not only to collect dances right off the web, but also to find literature from different places. I use the Country Dance & Song Society which is an organization up in Massachusetts that promotes folk dance and music. I peruse their bookstore pretty frequently. They are a great resource for all things dance.

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Which Whey is Cheese Making Class?

by Cory Marie Podielski on October 12, 2014

in Cooking, We Still Make Things

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Delicious spread of spreadable cheeses. Photo by Sara Boggs.

That’s the question students were asking last week when word spread about all the delicious cheeses coming from the Cooking Studio. Look at the delicious presentation of cheeses from last week’s class with Gary Colles… yum!

Our next upcoming cheese making class is with Susan Hutchinson on May 24-30, 2015:

Discover how to make delicious homemade dairy products. Explore Greek feta and French chevre; make medicinal Bulgarian yogurts; begin aged, hard cheese such as cheddar or manchego; make and cook with India’s versatile paneer cheese; and create everyone’s favorite pulled-curd cheese – mozzarella. This class is for the novice cheese lover; no cheese-making experience expected. Register today.

This week in the Cooking Studio, Nick Kelischek is teaching the art of home brewing. There’s always something tasty going on in the Folk School Cooking Studio! View all our upcoming Cooking classes.

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Fall Festival 2014 Shirt Design

by Cory Marie Podielski on October 1, 2014

in Around Campus, Fall Festival, Host & Work/Study

Check out Work/Studies Hannah & Cara and Student Host Laura modeling our 2014 Fall Festival shirts in Purple, Military Green, and Cardinal. Pick up your Fall Festival 41st Anniversary shirt at the Folk School’s Festival Barn booth. Short Sleeve – $15 Long Sleeve – $25 Available in a wide variety of colors and adult sizes (while supplies last). Not available online.

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Facing the Footwork

by Melinda James on September 25, 2014

in Featured Classes, Writing

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Are you trying to write a memoir or a novel? Let me guess… you aren’t sure how to get started because of the mountain of notes & information that need organized.

A new and unique writing class called “Facing the Footwork” with instructor Dana Wildsmith will teach how to organize all your ideas and information you have gathered.

Maybe you need help in gathering facts & taking notes – you’ll learn the art of conducting interviews and how to use technology for fact-finding as well.

Dana Wildsmith is the author of Back to Abnormal, a Georgia Author of the Year winning memoir, as well as five books of poetry, and a recently completed novel. She has taught various writing classes here at the folk school for the last ten years.

To learn more about Dana Wildsmith, visit her website:  www.danawildsmith.com

For more information on Facing the Footwork writing class, November 2 – 8, 2014 visit: folkschool.org

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