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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



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.




ornamentscarver [click to continue…]


Jan Davidson Announces Retirement

by Cory Marie Podielski on November 18, 2016

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


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.



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!


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…]



Kay teaching int the Jewelry Studio

Kay teaching in the Jewelry Studio

Kay and Tom Patterson are teaching Hand Engraving here in the Jewelry Studio this week. You can find Kay teaching many times throughout the year at the Folk School in a variety of subjects including Jewelry, Metalwork, Felt Making, Enameling, and Shoe Making. She also supports the school’s Enameling and Hot/Warm Glass programs as Studio Assistant. I sat down with Kay to learn a little bit more about her life, inspirations, and her crafts. Enjoy our interview!

CP: How did you first become involved with the Folk School?

KP: Tom and I had moved here in 1992 from southern Oregon and didn’t even know about the Folk School at the time. At the time, Tom was working as a hand engraver for a signet ring company. That allowed use to live anywhere we wanted to because his work was all by mail. I was working for a florist when I got word that the Folk School wanted someone to answer the phone on the weekends (this was before the era of cell phones). When I worked one Saturday overnight, I stayed Keith House and the dance was happening. I met people in the community and would watch the dancing, and that was the first thing that got me curious about the Folk School. I was interested in both craft and music.


A variety of recycled jewelry pieces made out of copper and recycled materials (L-R: Pin by Kay; hair pin made by Leah Dolgoy, a student’s pin in progress).

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Come on down to the Folk School Fall Festival this weekend! Enjoy lively music and dance performances on two new stages, shop for fine crafts, and view over 40 craft demonstrations. Savor delicious food, and participate in many kids’ activities. The Fall Festival offers fun for the entire family.

paul_jccfs_ff_cp4_4749Date: October 1 & 2

Time: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Daily admission: $5 adults, $3 ages 12-17, and free for children under 12

Location: Folk School Campus
4590 Brasstown Road,
Brasstown, NC 28902

GPS coordinates:
35˚ 2’ 21.28” N; 83˚ 57’ 50.2” W
(View us on Google Maps)

Parking: Lots of Free Parking and Shuttle Service. Donations Accepted (see below).

Please note: there are no ATMs on campus. Most craft vendors accept credit/debit cards, but you will need cash for your entry tickets and food items. Please leave your dogs at home. [click to continue…]