Marlow Gates

Broom Making Instructor Marlow Gates and his students by the outdoor pavilion next to Rock Room.

Whatever your abode, castle or cottage, you most likely have a broom in your home or hanging on your hearth. From besoms and cobweb brooms to more modern flat brooms and whimsical sculptural objects, brooms are important cultural symbols used for decoration and ritual, as well as functional tools. At the Folk School, we have both week-long and weekend classes for you to explore the rich heritage of broom making with renowned artisans.

Marlow Gates (photo courtesy of Friendswood Brooms)

Marlow Gates (photo courtesy of Friendswood Brooms)

Marlow Gates is a second-generation broom maker, carrying on his father’s tradition of craftsmanship. In his class, Appalachian Broom Making and Beyond, start with a basic cobweb broom and move on to explore various forms including small whisk, full-sized sweeper, and double broom designs.

Marlow has been teaching at the Folk School every year since 1998. To see a variety of his designs, stop by the JCCFS Craft Shop or check out Friendswood Brooms. Marlow also gets major pop-culture props for designing the brooms for The Harry Potter Theme Park.

Enjoy making floor sweepers, fireplace brooms, cob webbers, kitchen brushes, and/or whisks in Lenton Williams’ class: Broom Making – Appalachian Style. After studying box making at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village in Kentucky, Lenton became interested in Shaker history, including broom making.

Student working on their broom projects in the Rock Room Studio.

Students work on their broom projects in the Rock Room Studio.

No time for a full week of broom making? Come enjoy Lenton’s weekend class, making small Appalachian-style brooms and kitchen brushes. Lenton also teaches a popular Shaker Box Making class during Shaker Week.

Glen McClean (proprietor of Wonky Wood Works) and Carole Morse (artist-in-residence at the Foxfire Museum and Heritage Center) team up in May to teach Brooms – Decorative and Useful. In this class you will enjoy making a variety of round and flat brooms, besoms, kitchen brushes, and whisk brooms. By introducing colored broom corn and unusual handles, your creations can be functional art.

Handmade Plaited Appalachian Cobweb Brooms by Mark Hendry (Photo courtesy of Organic Artist Tree)

Handmade Plaited Appalachian Cobweb Brooms by Mark Hendry (Photo courtesy of Organic Artist Tree)

Mark Hendry specializes in crafting art, such as brooms, using organic materials. He is currently a director and resident artist for Organic Artist Tree in Blue Ridge, Georgia. In his weekend class, A Weekend of Appalachian Brooms, learn to fashion and harvest natural wooden handles and weave fresh broomcorn into cobweb, full-sized sweeper, and hearth brooms, both functional & fanciful.

During Shaker Week, explore two crafts for which the Shakers were known – basketry and broom making. In Shaker Baskets and Brooms with JoAnn Kelly Catsos, weave the quintessential Shaker basket, the cathead, then make a Shaker-style flat broom.
 
In 1999, Jo Ann was honored to have an ornament on the official White House Christmas Tree. One of her sewing baskets is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum.
Carole Morse and Glen McClean

Carole Morse and Glen McClean

2014 Broom Making Classes at the Folk School:
Appalachian Broom Making and Beyond with Marlow Gates (Feb 9 – 15)
Broom Making – Appalachian Style with Lenton Williams (Mar 9 – 15)
Brooms – Decorative & Useful with Carole Morse and Glen McLean (May 11 – 17)
A Weekend of Appalachian Brooms with Mark Hendry (Aug 1 – 3)
Appalachian Broom Making and Beyond with Marlow Gates (Sept 7 – 12)
A Broom Making Weekend with Lenton Williams Friday (Oct 24 – 26)
Shaker Baskets and Brooms with JoAnn Kelly Catsos (Nov 16 – 22, Shaker Week)

 View our Broom Making Pinterest Board for more inspiration.