At the beginning of this month, a new student house opened its doors. Located next to Bidstrup House, near the trail that leads to Orchard House, the new building is being referred to as the “Field House,” but naming opportunities still exist for its more permanent title.
In addition to featuring beautiful views all around, the building is a “green” one. The new student house rated very well in Energy Star modeling. The HERS rating is close to 50, which means it is expected to use only HALF the energy of a comparable code-compliant, conventionally built house!
We hope our student guests will enjoy all this high tech comfort as well as the simple Folk School style decor and furnishings (many made by local artists!).
Carving, or “whittling” is one of the first crafts that comes to mind when one thinks of mountain crafts. This might be because it doesn’t take a lot to get started. The historic Brasstown Carvers used their pocket knives as tools. They used wood that was available to them, such as walnut and buckeye, and they carved what they knew. Since most of them were farmers, there were many renderings of geese, dogs, horses, and pigs. Under the direction of Murray Martin, one of the first craft instructors at the Folk School, the work of the Brasstown Carvers was marketed successfully across the country. Brasstown Carvings were shipped internationally as well; Queen Elizabeth purchased two of Avery Beavers’ colts and directed her lady-in-waiting to write a thank-you note.
Here at the Folk School, we aim to find joy in every aspect of life. We take pleasure in carving a life-like squirrel, playing a banjo, and knitting a sweater from homespun wool. A week’s worth of hard work results in something we are proud to claim as a product of our own hands. While the school’s motto expresses our blend of work and play, it was a literal statement when the school began in 1925. One of the main reasons Brasstown was considered as a location for the Folk School was due to the strong presence of agriculture and the potential to build up rural life. The phrase comes from a mid-1800s Danish poem by Mads Hansen, farmer and poet. Olive Campbell adopted the phrase for the Folk School and her niece, June Coolidge Cary, probably designed the recognizable man and two horses.
I am just a simple farmer, downright and plain,
and yet I love my modest callings,
for around my little home grow blossoms fair with color and perfume.
Mine is the clear spring, mine is the fresh breeze.
I grew up to the song of the birds, learned a little of them, too.
I sing when the impulse comes to fly light and free.
I sing behind the plough and to the sound of the mowing.
Hills and woods give back my song.
And when I am weary with toil and day is done,
my spirit is fresh,my mind at ease, I am happy and free.
I would not change places with any man on earth,
nor will I leave this spot in the North.