Category: Featured Classes

An Interview with Greenwood Spoon Carver Tad Kepley

I recently had the good fortune to visit Pittsboro, NC for the inaugural The GreenWood Wrights’Fest, a weekend gathering of spoon carvers, timber framers, and basket weavers from across North Carolina and beyond. While at first those three crafts may sound dissimilar, the tie that binds them together is their use of “green” wood from a freshly cut log. The techniques of the greenwoodworker rely on the ease with which this wet wood can be immediately processed and shaped with hand tools, then allowed to air dry and be finished. It’s not a big leap to imagine why this style of woodworking was important to those who chose Western North Carolina as their home, with its plentiful hardwood forests. Folks around the world have long developed greenwoodworking skills to make everything from their kitchen utensils to their homes, relying on ingeniously simple hand tools: the axe, the froe, and the knife.
The modern day greenwoodworker may not need to hue a hand-built home out of freshly cut logs in order to survive, but she finds other essential benefits from the act of making things with hand tools. Spoon carving facilitates relaxation and mindfulness, and many carvers find themselves in agreement on the value of a handcrafted item that finds its usefulness in the simple act of cooking or eating. Popularized in the U.S. by Swedish greenwood carver Willie Sundqvist, and immortalized in classic books on greenwoodworking like Drew Langsner’s Country Woodcraft, spoon carving is a relatively inexpensive way to gain entry into the world of woodworking.
While in Pittsboro, I caught up with Tad Kepley of Lexington, NC, a veteran greenwood spoon carver and a bit of an evangelist for the craft. We talked about how he approaches spoon carving and what it means to him to participate in this type of woodworking. Tad is a popular instructor at the John C. Campbell Folk School, where he is teaching Greenwood Cooking and Eating Spoons in the Woodcarving Studio the week of August 7, 2022. Known as an enthusiastic and patient mentor, Tad’s teaching offers an entry point for the curious novice, as well as refined instruction for spoon carving enthusiasts looking to hone their skills. His hand carved spoons, with their polished knife finishes (no sandpaper here, folks!) and delicate forms, are quiet heirlooms that find their place in kitchens around the world.

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Fantastic Recycled Plastic Art: An Interview with David Edgar

Imagine transforming your trash into treasure by creating fantastic plastic creatures and whimsical designs with recycled plastic. David Edgar, an artist who sculpted in steel for 30 years, now creates stunning pieces in plastic and he can teach you to do it too in his upcoming class: Fantastic Recycled Plastic. Lets get to know David a little more and discover the world of plastic art. Enjoy our interview!

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Studio Batik with Jessica Kaufman

Have you ever wanted to try batik and hand-dyeing? We have a very special surface design class coming up on January 12–18, 2020 with Jessica Kaufman: Studio Batik: Many Techniques, Amazing Results. Jessica has studied batik methods from Indonesia and India and is the owner of WAXON Batik & Dye Studio in Asheville, NC.

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The Modern Asian Kitchen with Patrick O’Cain

I met with chef Patrick O’Cain at his popular Asheville restaurant, Gàn Shān Station, to interview him about his upcoming class at the Folk School, The Modern Asian Kitchen. We are excited to have him return to Brasstown, April 12–18, 2020, to share his knowledge of Asian cooking. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from a renowned and celebrated Asheville chef and immerse yourself in the cooking cultures of China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and beyond.

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Shaker Herbs, Roots, Barks, and Lore with Jamie Sparks

Have you always been drawn to the idea of using herbs to make your own products, teas, drinks, and food? Immerse yourself in weeklong class, Shaker Herbs, Roots, Barks, and Lore, taught by herbalist Jamie Sparks during Shaker Week, November 3–9. Explore how Shakers used plants to be self-reliant and to connect to the natural world. Jamie has a lot of wisdom to share, so let’s learn a little more about her experience and what’s in store for the class.

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Talking Old Time with Riley Baugus, Banjo Instructor

We are honored to announce that Riley Baugus, renowned old-time musician, will be our first featured artist in the new Appalachian Master Artist Series. Next week. October 14–18, Riley will celebrate old-time music at the Folk School and in our community. Riley’s visit marks the first of a four-part grant-funded series for Fall 2019. These collaborations are focused on perpetuating Appalachian craft and handing down mountain traditions.

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Fund-A-Need: What’s Important to You?

Our Fund-A-Need list represents a wide variety of necessities, from painting easels to woodcarving workbenches and from cooking studio shelving to weaving studio looms. As you know, our studios are where much of the magic happens: learning from your instructor, connecting with your classmates, and tapping into your own creative mindset.

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Current Catalog

Embrace your creative potential, and join us for a life-changing Folk School experience. Our new January–December 2022 Catalog is now available. View the eCatalog online. To receive a printed catalog in the mail, complete our Request a Catalog form on our website.

Online Craft Shop

Our online Craft Shop is now live! Support our vision, mission, and values by purchasing handcrafted items. Our online selection of items will continue to grow, so check back regularly for new items, interviews and more.

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