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Eleanor Koch, from Nashville, TN, came to the Folk School during her gap year after studying permaculture and sustainable agriculture in Israel. She leaves us to start her freshman year at Warren Wilson College. She’s wearing a hand-painted scarf by Jan Mayer (Kriska), a woven wrap by Deborah Bryant. Photo by Darcy Holdorf. Styled by Corryn Reynolds.

Tammy Elwell from Oak Park, Minnesota has been a Work Study student and a Host at the Folk School. During her recent time as a Host she studied glass beads, book arts and broom making. She also participated in our Thursday night woodcarving class. She asked to be photographed with Chester the Squirrel carved by Richard Carter. Tammy’s passion and joy on the dance floor is infectious! Photo by Darcy Holdorf.

The Craft Shop fashion shoot portrait 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. We see them rushing in and out of the Craft Shop, bringing us catalogs, planting flowers, leading tours, and we are always so grateful for the work they do. We were curious about their lives, before and after the Folk School. This curiosity, coupled with the Craft Shop starting to post on the Folk School Instagram account, led me to this idea. I invited work study students to visit the Craft Shop and pick out work that speaks to them for a portrait shoot. This way we can honor them while they are here, share a bit of their personal story, and highlight work by the talented artists that we carry in the shop.

Richard Carter started working at the Folk School in 1969. He has been carving for more than 40 years and started selling his carvings in the Craft Shop in the late 70’s. He says he finds carving peaceful and relaxing and enjoys the satisfaction of finding something in a piece of wood. Over the years, Richard has made an effort to preserve the Brasstown Carving tradition. He is currently teaching our staff and work/study students on a weekly basis. Pictured, he is using a Helvie knife to make an owl, one of his favorite animals to carve. You can find Richard carving in the Craft Shop on most Tuesdays and Thursdays. Photo by Darcy Holdorf.

Before I came to the Folk School, I worked as a photojournalist, so this was a natural way for me to bring my experience and skill set into my work at the Craft Shop. When I first moved to Brasstown, I saw craft and journalism as worlds apart. This project helped me to discover a strong commonality between the two: storytelling.

Photography historically has often been used to tell the stories of craftspeople and we turn to those old photographs now as treasured relics of a lost time. I consider it a privilege to attempt to tell similar stories with images of work study students, hosts and other members of our Folk School community. When I didn’t have work study students students to photograph, I started inviting Folk School staff to participate and the scope of the project continued to grow.

An unintended result of the fashion shoots is that they tend to bring us closer to the people I photograph. Everyone who works in the Craft Shop has joined in to help style the models, and in the process, ended up getting to know them better. Friendships have grown and we’ve become closer to our colleagues from other departments.

The portrait of carver Richard Carter elicited a lot of comments from local community members and connected him with a local teen that is interested in learning to carve. For me, those small connections make this project worthwhile. They prove that photography and social media really can promote sharing and understanding among our community and bring people together. [click to continue…]

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The New 2019 Folk School Catalog has arrived!

by Tipper Pressley on January 17, 2019

in Catalog

2019 Catalog

Our new Folk School catalog is here! You can browse and register for classes from today through December 2019.

To receive a Folk School catalog for the first time, please complete our online form. We’ll send a catalog directly to your mailbox. View the eCatalog to see an online version of the new catalog.

Choose from weeklong and weekend classes in 50 subjects, taught by talented instructors who enjoy sharing their craft with students. Browse several of our popular class subjects in the catalog, and inspire your creativity in our non-competitive learning environment.


Photo by Nicole McConville

Have you ever wanted to try batik and hand-dyeing? We have a very special surface design class coming up on April 7–13, 2019 with Jessica Kaufman: Studio Batik: Many Techniques, Amazing Results. Jessica has studied batik methods from Indonesia and India and is the owner of WAXON Batik & Dye Studio in Asheville, NC. With over 16 years of teaching experience and an MA in crafts education, Jessica has taught batik and tie-dye to summer campers, school children, high schoolers, and adults all over the country. We are lucky to have her for a week-long intensive focusing on this gorgeous and functional art form. Enjoy our interview!

Photo by Nicole McConville

CP: When did you first come to the Folk School? When were you a host?

JK: I grew up with relatives in Penland and would visit the school for community days, but couldn’t align my work schedule in a way that would allow me to take a class there when I was a young full-time teacher. Someone suggested I take a look at the John C. Campbell Folk School and it was absolute love at first sight. The week-long classes, offered year-round, were a dream come true.

I saved my pennies and booked a clay class over my spring break in 2005. I was teaching in a Haywood County public school and this class just lined up with my vacation days. Ted Cooley was our class assistant and two young women I knew from Asheville were the Hosts. I immediately saw the potential for myself there. I took a few more classes as a student, and then, in 2009, I served six months as Host. I was the last six-month host (the school went to a four-month system after that) but I wished it was still a 2-year position, as it was in Ellie Wilson’s time. I would have signed up instantly for that! [click to continue…]


Antipasto Salad

by Tipper Pressley on November 30, 2018

in The Folk School Cookbook


Today we’re sharing the perfect recipe for holiday potlucks. Antipasto Salad is easy to assemble and makes an impressive addition to any table.

Arrange on a large, rectangular serving platter:
4–6 cups arugula or other salad greens

Place on top of the greens in overlapping rows, starting in the middle and working your way out:
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained or sliced tomatoes
1½ cups fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced or chopped
6 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced
6 ounces salami
15 ounces cooked white or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup sliced black olives, drained
3 roasted red peppers, thinly sliced

Serve with Classic Vinaigrette (page 115 of The Folk School Cookbook) and crispy breadsticks. Serves 4–6.

Recipe from The Folk School Cookbook.

You can pick up your own copy of The Folk School Cookbook here, on our Facebook page, or at the Folk School Craft Shop, Malaprops in Asheville, Highland Books in Brevard, Curiosity Shop in Murphy, Highlander Gallery in Brasstown, and City Lights in Sylva.


Join Us at the Fireside Sale, December 2

by Tipper Pressley on November 28, 2018

in Holidays


Shop 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 from the Cherokee County Arts Council.

Visit the Folk School Craft Shop, offering 15% off all items through December 24.

Fireside Sale Details


Date: December 2

Time: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This event is free to the public.

Keith House and Davidson Hall
Folk School Campus
4590 Brasstown Road
Brasstown, NC 28902

GPS coordinates:
35˚ 2’ 21.28” N; 83˚ 57’ 50.2” W

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