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 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: A Broom Making Weekend. After studying box making at Pleasant Hill Shaker Village in Kentucky, Lenton became interested in Shaker history, including broom making.
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.
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