September 2012

Dear Friends

You never know where you will end up, when the Folk School unleashes your creativity.  I have been asked “What do you teach?” and I have replied, “Not to overplan.”  In art or craft or explorations of life, there are forks in the path where we least expected them, where the medium or the moment offers you an opportunity to go to a place unforeseen.

When Pat and Richard Freund heard that I was coming to speak in Wilmington, they invited me to their retirement village to see their studios, where they carry on with projects in between Brasstown immersions.  They are Folkschoolers, curious about the world and moved to respond to it in making things.  Both have taken writing classes.   I saw Pat’s rugs, her enamels, her jewelry and her dolls—there was beauty everywhere made by her hand. Like many a Folk School student, she had pursued her interests in many different media.  Richard, like many another Folk School student, concentrated mainly on one challenge, in his case the human face.  He’s taken Mike Lalone’s clay sculpture class several times to learn to make portrait busts.

We went into Richard’s neat studio.  He flipped on the light.  I looked around, and three clay heads looked back at me.  One was a lovely lady that looked just like the face in the snapshot propped against it. “That’s my cousin,” Richard said; another was a handsome gent.  Like the first, looked just like its picture, “friend of mine,” he said as we moved to the third.

“Guess who that is?”

“Richard,” I said, “Damn if it don’t look like Vladimir Putin.”

“Yep.” The pride of accomplishment was in his voice.

“Putin?” I said, “The President of Russia? Do you have some special interest in him?”


“A political statement?”



“It just started to look like Putin, so I just went with it.”


Here’s to us. Another lesson learned. Sometimes you just need to go with it.

The Folk School is here for you, every day of the year.  We want it to be strong and available for the ages.  If you would like to support it, we would appreciate it very much.

With love from Brasstown,

Jan Davidson

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