News and Updates

Olive’s Porch: A Folk School Experience in Downtown Murphy

Olive’s Porch, a new Folk School experience in downtown Murphy, is now open! Named after the school’s co-founder Olive Dame Campbell, the location at 27 Peachtree Street features classroom space, a retail shop showcasing the work of Appalachian artists, and a studio space dedicated to the Artist in Residence Program.

Little Middle

Apply today for Little/Middle Folk School 2022

Every summer the Folk School opens its doors to young folks ages 7-17 for Little/Middle Folk School, an opportunity for youths to discover Appalachian culture and to take part in hand-on programs in dozens of arts and crafts. Little/Middle is scheduled for June 19–25, 2022. Participants are divided into two groups. “Littles” are rising second-graders to rising sixth-graders, and “Middles” are rising seventh-graders to rising twelfth-graders (minimum age 11). Register today!

Music & Dance

Outdoor Concert and Dance Series Continues This Summer

We’re delighted to announce a new series of Music and Dance events! These programs are an integral part of the Folk School experience, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome springtime with their return. We hope that you and your family will join us for concerts, variety shows, and short dances in a safe, outdoor environment.

VIRTUAL MORNINGSONG

Tune Into Virtual Morningsong Every Friday

Join us every Friday morning on Facebook Live for Virtual Morningsong. It's a great way to start the day! To watch live, all you have to do is visit our Facebook Page at 7:45–8:15 a.m. on Fridays. If you miss a Morningsong, or want to re-watch, you can view the recordings by following the links in the artists section.

Support the Folk School

Donate Today: Together, We Make a Great Folk School

Ron Bohrer and Larry Castleberry found the Folk School in 2011 when they attended our big Fall Festival with other members of their local museum in Tennessee. After seeing our class catalog, Ron says, “We had traveled the world and we thought, ‘We’ve been everywhere we want to go, let’s go there.’”

CRAFT SHOP FEATURE

Folk School Holiday Memories with Carolyn Anderson

Carolyn Anderson is a long-standing member of the renowned Brasstown Carvers and a member of The Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Always quick with encouragement to new carvers, she possesses a sweet and generous nature and is a genuine embodiment of the Folk School’s values of Joy, Kindness, and Stewardship.

RECENT STORIES

Read Our 2021 Annual Report and Donate Today

Our 2021 Annual Report is now available on our website. We publish it in grateful recognition of our generous supporters, to provide an overview of our activities last year, and to share our audited financial performance as a non-profit organization.

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Create Shadow Puppetry, Storytelling & Song Magic with West of Roan in New Intergenerational Week Class

Don’t miss an incredible opportunity for you and a favorite youth to take a weeklong class with Channing Showalter and Annie Schermer, the renowned multi-media performance artist duo West of Roan. Known for creating performances using the storytelling methods of song and puppetry, this duo will lead a class on the art of shadow puppetry during Intergenerational Week, July 17–23.

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An Interview with Greenwood Spoon Carver Tad Kepley

I recently had the good fortune to visit Pittsboro, NC for the inaugural The GreenWood Wrights’Fest, a weekend gathering of spoon carvers, timber framers, and basket weavers from across North Carolina and beyond. While at first those three crafts may sound dissimilar, the tie that binds them together is their use of “green” wood from a freshly cut log. The techniques of the greenwoodworker rely on the ease with which this wet wood can be immediately processed and shaped with hand tools, then allowed to air dry and be finished. It’s not a big leap to imagine why this style of woodworking was important to those who chose Western North Carolina as their home, with its plentiful hardwood forests. Folks around the world have long developed greenwoodworking skills to make everything from their kitchen utensils to their homes, relying on ingeniously simple hand tools: the axe, the froe, and the knife.
The modern day greenwoodworker may not need to hue a hand-built home out of freshly cut logs in order to survive, but she finds other essential benefits from the act of making things with hand tools. Spoon carving facilitates relaxation and mindfulness, and many carvers find themselves in agreement on the value of a handcrafted item that finds its usefulness in the simple act of cooking or eating. Popularized in the U.S. by Swedish greenwood carver Willie Sundqvist, and immortalized in classic books on greenwoodworking like Drew Langsner’s Country Woodcraft, spoon carving is a relatively inexpensive way to gain entry into the world of woodworking.
While in Pittsboro, I caught up with Tad Kepley of Lexington, NC, a veteran greenwood spoon carver and a bit of an evangelist for the craft. We talked about how he approaches spoon carving and what it means to him to participate in this type of woodworking. Tad is a popular instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, where he is teaching Greenwood Cooking and Eating Spoons in the Woodcarving Studio the week of August 7, 2022. Known as an enthusiastic and patient mentor, Tad’s teaching offers an entry point for the curious novice, as well as refined instruction for spoon carving enthusiasts looking to hone their skills. His hand carved spoons, with their polished knife finishes (no sandpaper here, folks!) and delicate forms, are quiet heirlooms that find their place in kitchens around the world.

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Join Us for Intergenerational Week: July 17-23

Intergenerational Cooking students explore the Folk School Herb Garden..
We’re excited to introduce younger generations to enriching art, music, and traditional mountain crafts. Our 2022 Intergenerational Week, scheduled for July 17-23, invites youths 12-17 to take classes with a parent, grandparent, or other special relative or guardian. This rewarding experience brings families together, and has proven to be great fun for all who participate.
To register, call the Folk School Office at 1-800-365-5724 (Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. EST.) Tuition: $693.00. Youths will receive a $100 discount on tuition. Tuition does not include material fees.

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Enjoy this Classic Apple Pie Recipe from The Folk School Cookbook

The proof is in the homemade crust. Use either pastry recipe–Barb’s Butter Crust or Tender Pie Crust, available in the Folk School Cookbook. It might take practice to get it right. Allow the pastry plenty of time to chill, then fill it with tart apples, sugar, and butter for a classic result.

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Winter/Spring 2022 Online Classes

The Folk School is excited to continue our work with Lessonface, an innovative online learning organization founded by Claire Cunningham, a previous Work Study student. Choose from over 30 classes in a variety of subjects such as cooking, fiber arts, glass beadmaking, music, dance, painting, photography, woodworking, and writing.

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Working Under the Star – Part IV

In 2013, I posted a three-part blog serially on the Folk School home page titled “Working Under the Star Part I, II, and III”. The series related a touching description of two work camps conducted at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC in the summers of 1945 and 1946 by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). The AFSC is the voluntary service arm of the Quaker denomination. Mrs. Campbell was familiar with the AFSC having utilized several individuals from the organization in the past.

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2022 Traditional Craft Mentorship Program

Join us for our second installment of our Traditional Craft Mentorship Program! These two-week series are an opportunity for emerging artists to spend time at the Folk School learning from master artisans. Small groups of participants will join in focused sessions that enhance their interests, knowledge, and skills in traditional Appalachian craft, music or dance. Areas of study for 2022 include Cooking, Folklore and Woodcarving, and Folklore and Music.

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Keep the Folk School Healthy This Autumn

Maritza Maxwell embraces vulnerability. If you’ve been to the Folk School, you know we provide a supportive place to explore your creativity and connect with others. Maritza says, “Creativity breeds vulnerability and to share that with others is really meaningful. Every single time I’ve been to the Folk School I’ve come away with long-lasting friendships.

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About the Traditional Craft Mentorship Program

The Traditional Craft Mentorship Program is an opportunity for emerging artists to spend time at the Folk School learning from master artisans. Small groups of participants will join in focused sessions that enhance their interests, knowledge, and skills in traditional Appalachian craft, music or dance.

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Announcing Our Artist in Residence Program

We are excited to announce our first-ever Artist in Residence Program! This is a grant-funded opportunity for early to mid-career artists to spend four months in Murphy and Brasstown, North Carolina focusing on their craft while working within and building community.

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Our new website is live and this blog has moved to folkschool.org/stories

Please visit and bookmark the News & Stories page as all new content will appear over there and blog.folkschool.org will soon head to the archives. We’ll continue to bring you tales about the Folk School experience from the perspective of teachers and students, along with the latest news from our staff and Resident Artists. We’re in the process of transferring our blog archive over to the new website, but there are plenty of interviews and anecdotes to dive into today.

Current Catalog

Embrace your creative potential, and join us for a life-changing Folk School experience. Our new January–December 2022 Catalog is now available. View the eCatalog online. To receive a printed catalog in the mail, complete our Request a Catalog form on our website.

Online Craft Shop

Our online Craft Shop is now live! Support our vision, mission, and values by purchasing handcrafted items. Our online selection of items will continue to grow, so check back regularly for new items, interviews and more.

Class Subjects

Our new website is live and this blog has moved to folkschool.org/stories

Please visit and bookmark the News & Stories page as all new content will appear over there and blog.folkschool.org will soon head to the archives. We’ll continue to bring you tales about the Folk School experience from the perspective of teachers and students, along with the latest news from our staff and Resident Artists. We’re in the process of transferring our blog archive over to the new website, but there are plenty of interviews and anecdotes to dive into today.

Current Catalog

Embrace your creative potential, and join us for a life-changing Folk School experience. Our new January–December 2022 Catalog is now available. View the eCatalog online. To receive a printed catalog in the mail, complete our Request a Catalog form on our website.

Online Craft Shop

Our online Craft Shop is now live! Support our vision, mission, and values by purchasing handcrafted items. Our online selection of items will continue to grow, so check back regularly for new items, interviews and more.