Rag rug weaving embraces the folk art tradition of using everyday, readily available materials to build aesthetically beautiful, yet functional art: textiles made from the things we have, can forage, or acquire. With the craze du jour surrounding KonMari, now is a good time to think about new options for all those clothes you may be putting into the “Thank you, goodbye” pile. Rag rug weaving might be your perfect option!
Rag weaving a craft that always offers a student the opportunity to get in the spirit of upcycling. I recently talked with longtime Folk School instructor, JoEl Levy LoGiudice about this sustainable, functional, colorful, and beautiful type of weaving. JoEl has taught rag rug weaving, among other subjects, at the Folk School since 1987. She has two classes coming up: Fabulous Fabric Necklaces on May 17–19 and Woven Rag Rugs and Runners on Oct 13–19. Enjoy our interview!
CP:You’ve been teaching at the Folk School for over 30 years! That’s so awesome. Do you remember the first time you came to the Folk School?
JLL: I learned about the school from a former student of mine when I taught at the Appalachian Center for Crafts. Douglas Atchley had recently moved to Brasstown to manage the craft gallery (at that time it was located in the History Center) and he thought I would enjoy teaching here. He put me in contact with Ruth, who was directing programs at that time, and the first class I taught was Appalachian Rib Baskets. Continue reading Rags to Riches with JoEl Levy LoGiudice
These images were made during my time working as a Sales Associate in the Folk School Craft Shop. The series began as a way to recognize the work study students and hosts who come and go from the Folk School so quickly, yet are a vital part of what we do. I was curious about their lives, before and after the Folk School. I invited work study students to visit the Craft Shop and pick out work that spoke to them for a portrait shoot. This allowed me to share a bit of their personal story while also highlighting work by the talented artists we carry in the shop. When I didn’t have work study students to photograph, I started inviting Folk School staff to participate and the scope of the project grew.
An unintended result of the fashion shoots is that they helped build friendships between the Craft Shop team and other members of the Folk School staff. Everyone who works in the Craft Shop joined in to help style the models and, in the process, we all got to know each other better.
Do you have a basic understanding of your DSLR camera and want to learn more in-depth techniques for improving your photography? Check out The Photographic Tool Box on July 22–27, 2018 with instructor Stephanie Gross. Summertime at the Folk School provides an abundance of photographic material: pastoral landscapes, interesting folks, gardens, old buildings, barns, music, dance, craft studios. Stephanie has a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and has been making and thinking about photography for 25 years. Enjoy our interview!
CP:How did you get started in photography?
SG: I had an amazing photography teacher in high school who is an incredible photographer and was also a great teacher (not always the case). We’re still friends and I occasionally shoot with him. I assisted him after I graduated high school, through college.
I was interested in both photography and ceramics. I chose RISD because I could do both. I could make pots, but they were a creative dead end for me. Photography was scary and I had to struggle to learn to make pictures, but it’s been that struggle that’s kept me interested for 30+ years.
CP: What is your favorite subject matter to shoot?
SG: Stories, specifically people with stories. I suppose that’s anyone from the right point of view, but it’s more the search for what makes someone or some place interesting that’s my favorite.
I met with chef Patrick O’Cain at his popular Asheville restaurant, Gàn Shān Station, to interview him about his upcoming class at the Folk School, The Modern Asian Kitchen. We are so excited and lucky to have him come to Brasstown, April 29–May 5, to share his knowledge of Asian cooking. Don’t miss this chance to learn from a renowned and celebrated Asheville chef and immerse yourself in the cooking cultures of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and beyond. Enjoy our interview to learn more about Patrick and his class!
All photos courtesy of Patrick O’Cain and Gàn Shān Station.
CP: Tell me about your class. What will you be doing?
PO: The class is intended to be a general introduction to modern Asian cooking. We will have some basic set up and technique, and then get into some of the stuff we get into here in the restaurant, which is regional Asian. Gàn Shān Station focuses on all of East Asia, which gives us a huge array of dishes to choose from. My idea is to go into some of the main avenues of Asian cooking and also into an understanding of the food histories of these cultures. China is a main hub where everything comes in and out of in terms of Asian culinary tradition. Over time, countries and regions have had invasions and migrations. People from one culture bring their traditions including those of food. There’s a lot interconnectedness, which is prevalent in food culture all around the world.
CP: Who is the ideal student for your class?
PO: The ideal student would be someone with a good base in cooking experience who appreciates a bold palate. We will have a whole section of cooking rice; rice is a big deal in South Asia. Most of the food we will be making will have bold flavors and then be tempered by rice. That’s how the dishes are meant to be eaten. You take equal, or even greater portions, of rice with smaller portions of protein. If you are interested in Asian cooking and you like deep rich flavors with a little spice, this is the class for you. It’s intense food. Students will learn new techniques that they can take home an apply to lots of different things. Continue reading The Modern Asian Kitchen with Patrick O’Cain
Have you ever wanted to experience the magic of moving molten glass? Flameworking 101 might be the class for you! We are lucky to have Carla Camasso join us again in the beginning of March to teach the art of flamework, also known as lampwork. Carla is a glass artist currently living in Asheville, North Carolina. Using a torch to melt and manipulate borosilicate glass, her work is greatly inspired by the beauty of nature. Learn more about Carla in this sweet interview I did with her in the Folk School Dining Hall during the week of her last class with us.
CP:What is flamework?
CC: Flamework is a form of glass work. You use a table top torch to sculpt and melt rods of glass and glass color into many different shapes and forms. This week we are making marbles, pendants, ornaments, and small sculptures.
CP:How is flamework different from bead making?
CC: Bead making in done with soft glass. My class is focusing on borosilicate glass, which is a harder glass. It’s more user friendly, so it’s great for those just starting in glass.