Murray Martin with Brasstown Carvers

Murray Martin with Brasstown Carvers. Photo taken ca. 1954. From Berea Collection.

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.

Photo taken ca. 1954.  From Berea Collection.

Tennessee Mule by Jack Hall. Photo by John Bailey.