Join us for Appalachian Traditions, virtual discussions with instructors from our master-artist-led series on traditional Appalachian craft. These free, hour-long conversations provide a space for instructors in traditional craft to share their personal stories and discuss their creative process. We’ll explore the historic role of craft in Appalachia, examine its continued relevance today, and learn how practitioners are working to promote their craft and inspire the next generation of traditional makers.
Appalachian Traditions is part of a grant-funded program designed to connect highly-skilled Appalachian craft instructors with present-day students. Although we are not able to hold this series of master-artist-led classes in person, we hope to use this digital platform to celebrate traditional craft and help viewers connect with and learn from master artisans.
Appalachian Discussion with Lyle Wheeler
Date: June 15, 2020
Time: 4 p.m.
Panelist: Lyle Wheeler
Topic: Woodworking, Classic Ladderback Chair
Lyle Wheeler has been working wood for most of his life, specializing in ladderback chairs and furniture from the late 19th century and is an accomplished blacksmith. He has been teaching at the Folk School for over two decades and is a long-time member and demonstrator at the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Visit Lyle’s website.
Recordings of Past Events
Appalachian Discussion with Aubrey Atwater
Date: May 18, 2020
Time: 4 p.m.
Panelist: Aubrey Atwater
Topic: Music & Dance
Aubrey Atwater is an award-winning folk musician, vocalist, writer, and dancer. Aubrey is a performer and teacher throughout the U.S. and beyond, sings, plays mountain dulcimer, old-time banjo, guitar, mandolin, Irish whistle, and does highly percussive traditional clogging. She conveys the heritage behind traditional folk music and dance, and alongside Elwood (her husband) has produced 13 recordings and seven books.
Appalachian Discussion with Sue Williams, Pepper Cory, and Penny Prichard
Date: April 27, 2020
Time: 4 p.m.
Panelists: Sue Williams, Pepper Cory, and Penny Prichard
Topic: Basketry & Quilting
Recording link coming soon.
Sue Williams has been making white oak baskets for over 30 years. She has been an exhibitor and demonstrator for the annual White Oak Craft Fair in Cannon County for 15 years, winning Best of Show numerous times. Sue has won several top awards for her baskets and has been sharing her basket skills for over 20 years. Sue was one of only nine recipients in 2019 of the inaugural In These Mountains: Folk & Traditional Arts Master Artist Fellowships, a program of South Arts designed to highlight and support exemplary traditional bearers from the Appalachian region of Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina.
Learn more: Cannon County Basket Tradition with Sue Williams
Pepper Cory is an avid quilt collector, author of seven books and numerous articles for quilt publications, and teacher. Pepper fell in love with quilts in 1972 when she bought an antique quilt at a rummage sale for $1. After seeking out quilt makers to teach her the art, she became a professional quilter in 1975 and has pursued quilting since. Visit Pepper’s website.
Learn more: A Look at Southern Scrap Quilts with Pepper Cory
Penny enjoys a life filled with cooking and fine crafts, nurturing creativity, and the desire to create things by hand. She has been a Folk School instructor in Cooking since 2000, in Quilting & Sewing since 2008, and most recently, Needlework. Penny has been an avid quilter for over 35 years and has branched out into many other fiber arts — sewing, knitting, needlework, weaving, and basket making. Her latest focus is working with wool appliqué. Penny’s whole life has been involved with catering and restaurants. An award-winning chef and cookbook author, she specializes in breads and the foods of France and Tuscany. Her approach to food is both practical and fun, inspiring her students’ cooking for years to come.
The Folk School transforms lives, bringing people together in a nurturing environment for experiences in learning and community life that spark self-discovery. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.