I’m Pam East, and my first experience with the Folk School was teaching an enamel bead making class in 2003.   From that very first time I knew I had stumbled upon a truly special place.   Since then the John C. Campbell Folk School has become my home away from home.  Even though I’m usually there to teach, it feels like a vacation.  I can feel my soul relax the minute I drive onto the campus.

I now have the good fortune to teach a variety of jewelry making and enameling classes, and once in a blue moon, I get to teach in wood-turning.  No, I’m not also a wood-turner.   How that happened is a great illustration of the supportive and collaborative spirit that embodies the Folk School.  One February I was teaching a silver class and happened to be staying in the same house as Frank Penta, the wood-turning teacher that week.  We started talking in the evenings and ended up exploring the idea of using my silver clay to embellish his boxes and platters.  As luck would have it, we were both due back to teach again the same week in April.   We agreed that I’d make up some medallions and finials, and he’d bring materials for boxes, and we’d see what we could put together then.   When April rolled around, we were both as good as our word and some really lovely little boxes were created.

Metal inlay by Pam East, box by Frank Penta

Frank’s class was captivated by our joint project and immediately began asking when we were going to teach it.  We approached Doug Barnes, the resident wood-turner at that time, with our proposal for a joint class and the rest, as they say, is history.

Last week I had the pleasure of co-teaching the Silver Embellished Wood-Turned Boxes class for the second time.  Frank and I had eight terrific students.  It’s amazing to me how much they can absorb in just a few days!  They made a variety of medallions and finials AND got them set in boxes by the end of the week.    The silver elements were all made using Art Clay Silver, a media that can be worked like clay, but fires up to pure fine silver.   It’s amazing what can be accomplished without expensive silver-smithing equipment and in just a few short days!

Medallion by Pam East, woodturned box by Frank Penta

Whatever your interests, I hope you’ll give the Folk School a try.  I promise you won’t regret it!

Pam East will be teaching at the Folk School again in May 28 – 30 (weekend) and May 30 – June 5 (week.)  See more of her work and learn more about her at www.pameast.net