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Earlier this fall, Donna Glee Williams taught a writing class at the Folk School: “Write What You Don’t Know.” In the class, students took inspiration from life at the Folk School to find prompts for writing stories, pushing past the boundaries of their own experiences. Don M. Benson, Sr., a student in the class, shared the following story he wrote, taking inspiration from the craft of Blacksmithing. Enjoy his story below!

 

The Blacksmith’s Wife

by Don M. Benson, Sr.

He came to bed a happy man.

It was well past midnight but he was happy. He hadn’t been happy for at months or maybe years. But tonight, in bib overalls covered with soot and smelling like the smoke that poured from the forge he nurtured, he was a happy man. He labored all day and half the night heating strong members till they glowed a perfect orange. He pounded and twisted and molded them into shapes pictured in his imagination. The project was almost complete, a six foot, ornately sculpted, one of a kind hall tree, none other like it in the universe.

He was a happy man.

Very much unlike the man he was back home, with immaculately coifed man, a custom tailored suit, a stiff Egyptian cotton shirt, silk tie with matching braces and shoes shined to glossy perfection. Back home he labored all day and half the night in the glow of computer screens or the florescent flickers of conference rooms. He nurtured mentees and supported colleagues as he strove to craft a perfect deal, the deal that would benefit the firm and the client, all while his mentees and colleagues plotted his demise.

But here, at the Folk School, for a few hours or maybe a few days, he was a happy man.

And I was a happy woman.

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Challah created by students in Emily’s class.

(L-R) Emily’s mom at the Biltmore, Emily in front our our outdoor wood fired oven, Emily’s mom’s quilts at Show & Tell.

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. While I was busy lighting the wood-fired oven, hunting down recipes, and mixing doughs to demonstrate with in class, Mom was putting in long hours at the studio, turning the bags of scrap fabric she’d brought into quilts. Three times each day we met for meals in the Folk School dining hall. [click to continue…]

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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.

Corie Pressley, for example, grew up in Brasstown. She first came to Little Middle Folk School at the age of 5 and has memories of her mother taking her to Saturday community dances. Corie credits her confidence, her freedom of expression and her personal growth to her youth spent at the Folk School. Today, Corie and her twin sister Katie—both of them accomplished musicians—perform on stages throughout the region, including our Festival Barn stage. A recent graduate of Young Harris College, Corie is back at the Folk School, this time as an employee in the programming department.

“What would my life be like if I had not found the Folk School?” ponders Corie. “The Folk School is a dream come true.” [click to continue…]

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Craft Shop Holiday Gift Guide

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 29, 2017

in Craft Shop, Holidays

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Holiday season gift giving presents a delightful challenge. You want your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to receive distinctive gifts they’ll enjoy – and you prefer to buy those presents locally. This year, choose finely made gifts from our Folk School Craft Shop, and receive satisfaction from supporting talented regional artisans. Enjoy special 15% off your purchase now through December 23.

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Enjoy a relaxing, festive week at the Folk School during Holiday in the Mountains Week, December 3-9. Our last week of 2017 classes, this much-loved session celebrates the season with holiday-themed offerings and popular special events. Choose your favorite class, and come experience this magical week with us.

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