Tim Ryan will be our auctioneer at our Gala & Benefit Auction this Saturday. Tim has been involved in the Folk School in so many different ways: instructor, Folk School Board member (1994-2004), Resident Artist in Gardening and Homesteading (2000-2015), storyteller, gardener, auctioneer, kettle cooker, and blacksmith. Let’s get to know him a little bit better!
CP: Let’s talk about auctions since the Gala & Benefit Auction is this Saturday. How did you get into auctioneering?
TR: Benefit auctioning is a niche. I got into it because of Jim Batson, who teaches knife making here at the Folk School. Years ago, at the 2nd Alabama Blacksmith reunion, I took a green coal class and made a great poker with a wizard head on the end. I was finishing the project up and was so proud of it. My instructor came over and picked it up and said, “This is going to sell so good at the auction tonight.” I said, “WHAT?!?” He said, “Oh, you didn’t know? Everything we make in green coal we donate to the auctions to fray the cost of the conference.” I really could have cried.
CP: Couldn’t you have bought it?
TR: That’s exactly what I decided to do! I was going to buy my poker back, I didn’t care what it cost. I went to auction in the little old school house at Tannehill. It was packed. Jim was giving the welcoming address, but after a while it became apparent that he was stalling and waiting for the auctioneer, who had not yet arrived.
Jim and I had a 5 minute conversation and that was the extent of our entire wordly interaction. Jim had stalled for 20 minutes and when he saw me, he decided on a new plan. He walked over, grabbed me, and said to everyone, “This is Tim Ryan, our auctioneer!” with no prior discussion! I have no clue what made him think I could do it.
Talk about the adrenaline kicking in! I jumped in and did it. I’d been to a lot of auctions, but I never had done that before. We raised $1200 that year. The year before that they only raised $400, so they asked me to come back and do it again next year. I got a reputation as an auctioneer and started getting invited to other events. I enjoyed it so much that I paid to put myself through auctioneer school, so I could do it with more knowledge and skill.
CP: What makes someone a good auctioneer?
TR: The same thing that makes someone charming is the same thing that makes someone a good auctioneer. To be charming, you have to believe that you are a worthy, interesting person, that anyone would benefit from knowing. For example, you have to believe it enough to be able to walk up to six people over there in the corner talking, you don’t know any of them, but you can walk right up and join their conversation because you have that honest belief that you are the person that those 6 people would have missed out on by not meeting you tonight. You have to really believe it.
Join Tim at the exciting live auction at the Gala & Benefit Auction in the Keith House on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
The John C. Campbell Folk School is looking forward to our upcoming auction— the June Gala & Benefit Auction. This auction will feature amazing art from our instructors, resident artists, and students. We hope you will join us for a wonderful afternoon of togetherness, art, and camaraderie. This auction helps guarantee that the Folk School will continue to be a haven where artists can learn, work and be inspired.
Cory Marie Podielski is a freelance graphic designer, photographer, and writer for the John C. Campbell Folk School. She has been writing for the Folk School Blog since 2012 and enjoys interviewing artists, musicians, and craftspeople. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the banjo, dancing, printmaking, playing in clay, and assisting in Folk School bread baking classes. podielski.com