As our Traditional Craft Mentorships come to a close, we want to express how grateful we are to the instructors, mentees, and staff that made this new programming possible. These mentorships were an opportunity for early-to-mid-career artists to spend a month at the Folk School this fall, learning from master artisans. Through this, we hoped to inspire the next generation of traditional crafters, keeping the practices of basketry, music and dance, weaving, blacksmithing, chairmaking, and fiber arts alive.
Two groups of mentees joined us on campus, each for a month, to explore the Folk School and their craft through collaborative and independent studio time. Our mentees spent countless hours creating while learning the historic and cultural context behind their work.
Each Friday, our mentees hosted virtual studio tours on Facebook Live where viewers could see their work and hear snippets of what they had learned from a variety of traditional Appalachian instructors. Being able to host these mentees gave us a chance to connect in these unprecedented times and feel the sense of community that makes the Folk School so special. At the end of each session, mentees grew closer together and showcased their own individual styles of making.
Delia Turner working on a basket
Music student playing the dulcimer
Margaret Dugger’s work using Alice Tipton’s weaving style. Photo by Margaret.
Chris Lucibella and Cole Aurichio learning traditional ironwork from Jim Kennady
Jonathan Chao in the Chairmaking Mentorship
Lesley Darling in the Fiber Mentorship
Here’s some of the feedback we’ve received from this program:
“The Traditional Craft Mentorship Program was an incredibly rare and awesome experience. I will be forever grateful to the John C. Campbell Folk School, and its supporters, for the truly transformative opportunity to study so intimately with the masters of my craft.”
-Kadey Ambrose, Basketry mentee
“These students were and are the future of craft. These two sessions were just the tip of the iceberg as far as what this program will be able to do for the future of traditional craft. I watched this program open doors, and show people things they never thought were possible. In just four weeks, this program changed the trajectory of people’s lives.”
-Elizabeth Belz, Creative Catalyst Fellow 2020-2021
We’re grateful to have social media as a method to connect during this time. We also were able to follow along with our mentees’ journeys through Instagram. Below, you’ll find glimpses of their experience.
Mentees, we hope you are able to take what you’ve learned with us beyond the studio and build community through your craft. Thank you for being part of passing on these traditions for generations to come. We look forward to seeing what you’ll accomplish, and we can’t wait to see you back on campus again.
Session 1 mentees
Session 2 mentees
About the 2020 Mentorship Program
The 2020 Traditional Craft Mentorship Program was a grant-funded opportunity for early-to-mid-career artists to spend a month at the Folk School, learning from master artisans. The unique situation of the Folk School closure due to COVID-19 allowed us to offer 6, 1-month-long programs, with 3 students per program, and 2-4 mentors working collaboratively and independently in studios. Subjects included: Basketry, Music & Dance, Weaving, Blacksmithing, Chairmaking, and Fiber Arts.
We’ll be announcing 2022 Mentorship opportunities in July 2021. Sign up for our eNewsletter to learn about upcoming opportunities.
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.