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Children make cookies for the Holiday Kids Party

Children make cookies for the Holiday Kids Party

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!

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Nanette in the Cooking Studio

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. [click to continue…]

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firesideflyer2016Shop for one-of-a-kind gifts in our beautifully decorated Keith House and Davidson Hall (next to the Craft Shop). Craftspeople will offer handmade items such as jewelry, weaving, forged iron, photography, quilts, and turned wood. Come spend the afternoon with us.

Enjoy homemade refreshments such as sweet and savory scones and light bites, cookies, and gourmet coffee from the Brasstown Morris Dancers and Cherokee County Arts Council.

Visit the Folk School Craft Shop, offering 15% off all items from November 25 through December 24.
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Discover Finely Made Holiday Gifts at the Craft Shop

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 21, 2016

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% Savings from November 25 through December 24.

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Thank You Jan Davidson

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 18, 2016

in Folk School Folks, In the News, New & Noteworthy

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After an award-winning 25-year tenure as executive director of the John C. Campbell Folk School, Jan Davidson, Ph.D. has announced that he will retire on March 1, 2017.
Since joining the Folk School in 1992, Jan has focused on programming, facility building and renovation, fundraising, historic preservation, and conservation. Under his direction, the school’s annual student enrollment has grown from 2500 students to an average of 6000 students. The school also completed its first major capital campaign and established the John C. Campbell Endowment. Jan has led several building and renovation projects including Davidson Hall, Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop, Woodturning Studio, Painting Studio, Book & Paper Arts Studio, Hill House, Field House, and Keith House.

An accomplished writer, musician, and speaker, Jan has exemplified the Folk School’s mission of providing experiences in noncompetitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening. Along with UNC-TV, Jan co-produced Sing Behind the Plow: John C. Campbell Folk School, which was nominated for two regional Emmy awards. He also received several awards including The North Carolina Award for Fine Arts, the state’s highest civilian honor. An advocate for the arts, Jan has served on many committees, panels, and local and regional boards including the North Carolina Arts Council.

The Folk School’s Board of Directors praises Jan for his long and successful service to the school and recognizes his retirement represents a major transition. They pledge to support Jan and his management team and staff in continuing to provide a unique and memorable experience for students. “Jan embodies everything that is wonderful and magical about the Folk School. He represents the true spirit of the school, heart and soul…he spins a fun tale, fiddles a fine tune, and weaves magic into the fabric that makes the Folk School one of the happiest places on earth. As we celebrate Jan’s 25-year legacy, we know we have very big shoes to fill. We are taking our job to find the next executive director very seriously,” states Trudy Strawn, president of the Board of Directors.

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I met Tom Quest over meatloaf dinner in the Dining Hall on Sunday night. We quickly discovered that we were enrolled in the same class: Jim Horton’s “Great American Poster” printmaking class. I discovered Tom is a professional potter and he got his start in clay years ago at the Folk School. He and his family often come here for vacation. This particular week, his wife and daughter were taking felting & dyeing together. I sat down with him to learn a little bit more about his pottery, our class, and why the Folk School is a great place for a family vacation. Enjoy our interview!

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Instructor Jim Horton and Tom decide what ink colors to roll out for the press. Black is always a good place to start!

CP: What made you want to take letterpress printing?

TQ: Well, my family had a lot of things going on this year, and we just wanted to have a nice, restful vacation. The Folk School is one of our big go-to places to come as a family to just kick back and not have the pressure and stress of going to a big city. Its just very relaxing. We like to come here about every other year. So this year, my big pottery show was over with, my daughters wedding was over with, so we just thought, “Let’s go to John C. Campbell!”

CP: Do you take a different subject every visit?

TQ: I’ve taken so many pottery classes, now I try to take other subjects that will help me to branch out. Last time I was here, we did marbling. The time before that I did metal clay jewelry, and that was an interesting class.

CP: How did you get into pottery? [click to continue…]

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