Julie puts on her sandals

Oh Folk School craftspeople, how many craft directions will you pull me in?! Just when I was getting cozy with fiber, you pulled me into pottery, and now that I’m getting decent at clay, you go and tempt me with the world of shoe making and leather work! How will I ever remain monogamous with just one craft? Folk School, you’re playin’ with my heart, and its getting tougher and tougher to resist your many charms.

Peggy Patrick assisting a student with his project.

The week of May 27 – June 2, I strayed to the loving arms of Peggy and Chuck Patrick to learn the ways of leather sandal making in their class “Shoe Making-Leather Sandals.” The Patrick’s approach to craft was what first drew me in. As folks that live off the land, they have a deep appreciation for the beauty of the function as well as the form of the finished product. A good shoe is an invaluable tool, and it is that much more beautiful for the places it allows you to go!

Chuck Patrick in the outdoor pavilion near Rock Room.

So with that craft guidance, I undertook the sandal, a piece of footwear which will surely bear me to untold wonders. That week I was in kind of a Roman Holiday mood, so I went for a strappy, Gladiator-esque-but-cute look with my shoe. By Wednesday, I had my first pair on my feet and ducked out of that afternoon’s class to give my new sandals a feel for the terrain of Hiawassee Lake.

Katie, a current workstudy, working on her sandals.

Now that I’ve made the sandals, I’m just gonna have to make some shoes. Then some boots! I’m also now really interested in learning to tan and prepare hides… and this is how it goes when you hang around Brasstown long enough. I’ve never been in a place with so many crafty and creative folk who were also kind enough to share their time, skill and materials just about any time you ask them. I’m constantly blown away by the generosity and hospitality of you, Folk School folk, and though you may pull me in many directions, I know its all out of love, and I’ll just keep comin’ back for more.

– Julie

Workstudy Char wearing her finished sandals.

Julie Johnson is a former 2011 workstudy student. She currently resides in Brasstown and is enjoying exploring many arts and crafts including, but not limited to, fiber arts, pottery, canning, gardening, & sandal making.

Peggy & Chuck Patrick, longtime Brasstown residents, regularly teach at the Folk School. Their next Shoe Making class: Shoe Making – Simple Shoes and Boots (listed under Unique Offerings) is Sept. 16-22 2012. Register now, Shoe Making classes fill up fast!