Rags to Riches with JoEl Levy LoGiudice

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!

A table runner made by JoEl with woven plastic bags! See a photo below of the process.

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

Folk School Stories: Tommye Scanlin

Having grown up just 12 miles down the road from Brasstown, many of Tommye Scanlin’s earliest scanlin photoFolk School memories date back to her youth. In the mid-1960s, she and her boyfriend would often catch a glimpse of campus on their way to the drive-in movie theater in Peachtree. Since those drive-in, drive by days, Tommye’s Folk School story has come full circle.

Tommye was officially introduced to Folk School classes by Bob Owens, a potter who also happened to be the head of the Art Department at North Georgia College where Tommye taught art and textiles. “I was learning about weaving at the time,” Tommye says, “trying very hard to figure it out on my own. In the summer of 1974, I had the chance to take a weaving class.” During her week as a student, she learned to read weaving drafts and added to her growing love of the craft. “With my newly gained knowledge, I doubled down on my weaving and within a year or so began to show and sell my woven works.” Continue reading Folk School Stories: Tommye Scanlin

Weavers’ Work Week

In our recent letter from Folk School Director Jerry Jackson, Weavers’ Work Week was featured in Janet Davis’ story (if you missed it, read the letter online here). I thought this would be a great time to talk to Pam Howard, the Folk School’s Resident Weaver, about this special week. Weavers’ Work Week is an annual tradition at the Folk School where skilled weavers are invited to come for a week and volunteer their time to do projects around campus and make improvements in the studio. Let’s learn more from Pam…

Pam Howard at the loom

CP: What is Weavers’ Work Week, and how did it start?

PH: The idea for Weavers’ Work Week started in 1992. A weaving teacher, Betty Hancock Smith and her weaving student, Dee Richard were talking about how hard it was sitting all week on the loom benches. Those two got to talking about what if weavers were invited to come to the school and weave fabric to make the cushions. They asked Jan Davidson, former director and Ruth Truett, former programs director. It was approved, and in the spring of 1993 the first Weavers’ Work Week happened.

I was assisting Betty in her weaving class in 1992, and I was the first weaver that was asked to participate. I have been to every one since. From 1993 to 2000, Betty was in charge of organizing the yearly event. In 2000, I became the Resident Weaver and took it over organizing it. Things went on fairly smoothly till 2008 when I had health issues and inherited relatives I had to take care of. After the dust settled and things had calmed down in my life, I thought it was time to restart the tradition of WWW. So, on February 4, 2015 I sent a letter to the “powers that be” and got Weavers’ Work Week back on the schedule. Continue reading Weavers’ Work Week

Meet Host Donna Glee Williams

Donna Glee’s felted creations from the class “Nuno-felt Collage” with Liz Spear & Neal Howard

Our current host, Donna Glee Williams, is a writer of fantasies for the teenager in all of us, as well as being a seminar leader, dream worker, and creative coach. She has recently published two novels and her work has been featured in anthologies, literary magazines, academic journals, spoken-word podcasts, and more. She even came to the rescue and taught a recent weekend writing class at the Folk School when the scheduled instructor cancelled at the last minute. The hosts at the Folk School keep the show running smoothly and they are fully involved in the daily life of the School for a four month period. Without further ado, let’s get to know Donna Glee!

CP: What first brought you to the Folk School?

Donna Glee Williams outside of Keith House with her book, the Braided Path
Donna Glee Williams outside of Keith House with her most recent book, Dreamers

DGW: From 1994 to 2015, I worked at the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching and we created weeklong intensive seminars for public school teachers in all manner of subjects with the goal of helping them reconnect with their passion, pride, and love of teaching. In that time, I worked with many fabulous local craft artists. I wanted come learn about this resource that was so close and make connections with the people here who could be possible presenters for my teachers. That’s what got me to the Folk School for the first time.

CP: What inspired you to apply for the Host position?

DGW: When I left my job to be a full-time writer, I knew I wanted to add craft adventures to my life. I wanted to continue to work with top craftspeople and have these experiences of the hand that by some mysterious alchemy wind up coming out as material in my books.

Living the life of the full-time writer, I knew I would not have the funds to make that happen, so the host position was an ideal program for me. I don’t know how what I learn here will come out in a book, but there is a strong likelihood that it will. Right now, I am working on a book that is the residue of an experience I had in 2008 when I was a Fulbright fellow and went to India to study certain small, desperately poor communities are declaring independence from pesticide use and raising cotton without chemicals. Fiber arts have often been a focus in my work. Continue reading Meet Host Donna Glee Williams

This Year Give A Gift That Is Handmade

Handwoven ornaments by JoEl Levy LoGiudice


If you could make all your holiday gifts in one week wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity. Well this is your lucky day because John C Campbell Folk School is offering a class “Handwoven for the Holidays” on December 6-12, 2015 during their special weeklong event “Holidays in the Mountains“. This class is designed for all level students from Beginning to Advanced. It will feature working on 4 types of looms. Everyone will begin by creating simple ornaments and coin purses on cardboard looms. From there students will move on to creating small stuffed animals such as sheep, birds and mice on pin looms.  

Handmade ornaments by JoEl Levy LoGiudice

Then they will advance to weaving on an inkle loom. This is a great loom for making everything from belts to guitar straps to a variety of tree.  The weeklong create-a-thon ends with weaving purses, trivets and small table runners on a four-harness floor loom. So as you can see we have your entire gift list covered in one week:  stuffed toys for the youngsters, belts or woven key rings for the men on your list, purses or woven jewelry for the ladies and tree ornaments for all your friends and co-workers. I have had a great time designing the projects for this class and I know everyone with have fun getting into the holiday spirit.

It’s not to late to register for Handwoven for the Holidays, December 6 – 12, 2015.

Handwoven by JoEl Levy LoGiudice

JoEl Levy LoGiudice, Artist/Gardener/Chef/Traveler


3540 Sweethome Road

Ashland City, TN 37015

email: logiudice.joel@gmail.com