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Search for Our New Director

by Keather Gougler on February 19, 2017

in Folk School Folks

With the impending departure of our Executive Director Jan Davidson, who has provided extraordinary leadership of the school for 25 years, we have an exciting opportunity for someone to continue to lead John C. Campbell Folk School with vision, spirit, energy, creativity and inspiration.

The search for a new Executive Director has necessitated some important introspection and thoughtful contemplation. To that end, our Atlanta executive search firm, Boardwalk Consulting, has conducted extensive interviews and research and has put together an Executive Leadership Profile, which clearly defines the roles and responsibilities of the Executive Director. You can find it here.

It is a time of great promise for the school and a satisfying opportunity for a new leader to envision and create its next successful evolution.

Please review the Executive Leadership Profile and share this message as well as the Profile broadly to help us spread the word about this pivotal and life-changing opportunity.

Thank you in advance for your help.

To apply or suggest a prospective candidate, email FolkSchool@boardwalkconsulting.com or call Kathy Bremer or Patti Kish at 404-262-7392.

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Set Your Table

by Cory Marie Podielski on February 9, 2017

in Featured Classes


Dinnertime is a time of congregation, community, and celebration between family and friends. Imagine the satisfaction of using a tool you made, or cooking skill you learned at the Folk School, in your kitchen every day. We have put together a collection of class picks that will help you set your table Folk School-style. Enjoy!

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Keep on Singing Behind the Plow

by Jan Davidson, Director on January 28, 2017

in Jan writes ...

Some of you have been reading messages from me for decades, and other readers (Hi! Welcome to the real school of magic.) may just be getting a first inkling about the Folk School.

It has been an honor and a challenge to lead this merry band for the past 25 years. When I started, it seemed to me that the world really needed it, but I could never have imagined in 1992 how essential and important the Folk School would become. Even more, we are in need of a place that comforts, energizes and unites us, a support system that lifts us up, and time well spent in finding the best we have in us.

About place. We have to continue to protect the air and water from greed and ignorance, and our relationship to the land is best thought of as stewardship of a sacred trust.

About time. If you’re trying to get back to a simpler time, forget it. Times are complex. Don’t come here to find the past, unless it is your own. If we are nostalgia, we’re toast. Our looking back is to learn lessons for the here and now, and gird ourselves for the future.

When Olive Dame Campbell retired after 25 years as Director, she promised to come back to walk the paths and see the rhododendrons in bloom. Sounds like a plan. I see her along the trails and in the woods—sometimes she’s a little kid, sometimes an old guy, but always with a smile, as if living out the watchwords that have always kept us going:

Sing behind the plow. Love life. Hate no one.

Jan Davidson,
Director

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Salute to the Arts & Crafts Movement

by Cory Marie Podielski on January 26, 2017

in Featured Classes, Themed Weeks


DThe Arts and Crafts Movement began in England in the 19th century as a reaction to increased industrialization and resistance to the ornate Victorian style, and it resonated in America in the first half of the 20th century. Its tenets: hand craftmanship with attention to detail, use of high-quality materials, and design that fulfills function in a visually simple way. Join us, February 19-25, for the Folk School’s annual “Salute to the Arts & Crafts Movement” week to celebrate the Arts and Crafts style. Enjoy our class picks below to get you inspired.

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What’s a Hobo Nickel?

by Cory Marie Podielski on January 13, 2017

in Featured Classes, Jewelry & Metalwork

Tom Patterson has been a hand engraver and jeweler/metalsmith for more than 50 years. Starting in his father’s shop at age 14, he has been a lifelong student of metals and their manipulation. Currently, Tom continues his studies from his home studio in the mountains of western NC, where he fabricates artifacts of astonishing peculiarity. His upcoming class Hand Engraving-Hobo Nickels caught my eye as a very unique class. Unsure of what a hobo nickel is, I resisted the urge to google and decided to sit down with Tom and find out a bit more about the class. Enjoy our interview!

Hobo nickel by renowned original era carver Bertram “Bert” Wiegand

CP: What the heck is a hobo nickel?

TP: It’s a modified Indian Head Buffalo nickel and the profile of the Indian or the buffalo on either side has been modified to be something else. It was commonly used by hobos during the Great Depression to increase the value of a nickel. They could trade it for a ride, buy a meal, or buy off a train cop. People started liking hobo nickels and then coin collectors start to collect hobo nickels. Some of nickels created by carvers during the Depression Era became so valuable that modern people, who had some engraving ability, began to buy nickels from coin dealers to copy and counterfeit these original hobos. The counterfeit artist would get the big bucks for their “collectable” nickel. They were discovered, and instead of being discredited, they were celebrated and collected for their own abilities. So today, even though it is definitely a niche, there are a lot of hobo nickel carvers. One of the famous carvers, he had this little kit, or box, of his handmade tools, and it went to auction a few years back and it sold for $9000. The old original nickels are worth thousands of dollars now and some of the new nickels are worth a lot of money too. [click to continue…]

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