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.