Featured Auction Artist: Lorraine Cathey

Detail of felted landscape, "Fall in the Mountains," by Lorraine Cathey
Detail of felted landscape, “Fall in the Mountains,” by Lorraine Cathey
Come bid at the Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction on this gorgeous felted landscape, “Fall in the Mountains,” donated by Lorraine Cathey.

Lorraine Cathey is one of our featured artists in our upcoming Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction. A fiber artist of 15 years, she is known for creating award-winning, heirloom mohair teddy bears and whimsical, needle-felted bears and gnomes.

Also a watercolor artist, Lorraine’s love of painting led her to create needle-felted landscapes. She was recently juried into the Southern Highland Craft Guild with this art and her bears. She has two classes at the Folk School scheduled in 2016, one class focusing on felted bears and the other on felted landscapes. Believing that learning never ends, she conducts her classes with fun and a noncompetitive spirit.

Come bid on Lorraine’s gorgeous felted landscape and other fine-crafted goods at the Blacksmith & Fine Craft Auction. This event will be held in the Keith House on Saturday, November 7, 2015, from 1-4 p.m. Free! Continue reading Featured Auction Artist: Lorraine Cathey

Make a Puppet, Make a Pal! with David Stephens

The class display at Show and Tell (2013)

If you are looking for a unique class at the Folk School that incorporates visual art, mixed media, and performance into a week of puppet fun, check out David Stephens class Hand-and-Rod Puppet Construction (April 10-16, 2016). When David teaches his class, an infectious feeling of whimsy, fun, and joyful energy permeates the campus. David has been a puppeteer and puppet maker for over 20 years and is founder of All Hands Productions in Atlanta, GA. I sat down with David during his last class here at the Folk School to find out a little more about the magic of puppetry.

David with his new alien creation

CP: Is the person who creates the puppet usually the puppeteer?

DS: Some people are just builders, and some people are just performers. I do both and I feel like I am a more informed builder, because I am a performer, and vice versa. Understanding the mechanics of how the puppet is made makes me a better performer. Thinking like a performer makes me a better builder, because I know what I want the puppet to be able to do. It can be a symbiotic relationship.

I like the visual art aspect just as much as the performance part. Making a puppet from scratch is very gratifying. You take this idea in your head and realize it in three dimensions, which is pretty cool.

CP: Describe what a week is like in your Hand-and-Puppet Construction class.

DS:  For the first few days, everybody is making the same basic form. By the end of the week, students are creating their own characters, using their imaginations to come up with different facial feature combinations. The personalities of the puppets start to come out later in the week. You see this extreme change in the room from things that look very much the same, to very distinct looking characters.

The difference between the puppets that I make and the puppets that these students make is about 20 years of experience. We are all working with the same basic pattern. Experience is the only difference; otherwise we are making the puppets from exactly the same patterns and materials. Continue reading Make a Puppet, Make a Pal! with David Stephens

Beyond the Sock with Master Knitter Charles Gandy

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Tulip detail on knitted sock by Charles Gandy
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Charles holding his tulip-themed sock outside the Wet Room

You can envision Charles Gandy’s sculptural socks warming cold winter feet, or you could imagine seeing his socks in a fine art gallery. He has a show coming up at The Bascom Art Center in Highlands (see below for details) that explores this very topic. He is a TKGA Master Knitter and is a renowned designer with a published book focusing on his creative sock designs: The Embellished Sock: Knitted Art for the Foot.

We are lucky to have Charles teach regularly at the Folk School. I sat down with him in the Wet Room Studio during his last class where students were working on fantastic knitted pieces like vegetable gardens, jonquils, and Pop Art-esque Campbell’s soup cans. Let’s find out a little bit more about Charles Gandy. Continue reading Beyond the Sock with Master Knitter Charles Gandy

In the Studio: Eco Printing with Kathy Hays

Kathy Hays displays her eco print creations outside the Wet Room.
Kathy Hays displays her eco print creations outside the Wet Room.
Class projects
Class projects

I stopped by the Wet Room to visit Kathy Hays’ recent class “Eco Printing Meets Felt Making” to see what they were creating. I talked to Kathy about her craft and the joys of eco printing. Enjoy our interview!

CP: Tell me about where you’re from, what you do there, and about your craft.

KH: I’m from Florida, an unusual area for felt making due to the climate. I began making felt here at the Folk School in 1999. After struggling and trying to figure how to make felt on my own, I was able to come here and after the first day, it was like all my questions were answered! The rest of the week was purely a bonus.

CP: How is Nuno Felting different from other felting?

KH: Felt making is wool fibers being arranged and then adding soap, water, and agitation. In the case of Nuno Felting, you are merging fibers through another fabric. The term is a little ambiguous. That fabric can be cotton, linen… anything that is thin enough for it to come through. It creates a unique texture when it does that. Continue reading In the Studio: Eco Printing with Kathy Hays

Fabulous Felting with Becky Walker

Felted Rug Class with Becky Walker in the Wet Room
Felted Rug Class with Becky Walker in the Wet Room

Felt is the oldest known fabric used by man. That stands to figure… felt is so easy to make, it was probably first discovered by accident. The recipe for felt, after all, is wool, moisture and agitation. Picture lining a sandal or shoe with raw wool to act as a cushion. Now picture walking around on that wool, smooshing it with every step, maybe sweating on it a bit to add the needed moisture. By the end of a long walk, you’re not taking out bits of raw wool, but essentially a felted sock that fits your feet perfectly. While felting techniques have come a long way, that essential concept of felt making is still the same.

 I sat down to talk with Becky Walker about her adventures with felt making. You’ve seen Becky around the Folk School campus wearing a knit hat, sweater or socks, or maybe on the dance floor wearing her felted name tag. Wherever you may meet Becky, her enthusiasm for her passions – music, dance, good food, good friends, animals and fiber – becomes clear right away. Let’s meet her.

Becky and her felted name badge
Becky and her felted name badge

CC: How did you first become interested in becoming a fiber artist?

BW: Well, my mother taught me to knit when I was a real little kid, I was about seven. I’ve always loved animals, or anything with fur, anyway, and one thing lead to another. I’ve pretty much continued knitting through out my life so far. So I haven’t knitted all my life yet (she laughs).

CC: How did you discover the Folk School?

BW: After I met Steve, my husband. He was a Folk School person and this was one of the first places we came. His son, Able lived over here, and he wanted me to meet Able and his mom. Of course we had to come dance because we were right here. Actually, I had encountered the Folk School in my early 20s in the book Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. There was a chapter on the Folk School and I thought, “Wow, that seems like such a great place. I’d love to go there!” but didn’t really think I ever would. So the fact that we came here right away was pretty neat, and I’ve been loving it ever since. It was a while before I got to take a class, so anyway, we’d come here to dance and see family.

CC: What kind of fiber arts do you do?

Felted Rug with Woman
Felted Rug with Woman

BW: Well, felt making is what I’ve become known for and I dabble a little bit with spinning. I’m not very good, but I just need to sit down at my wheel and do it more.

CC: Martha Owen, the Folk School Resident Artist in Knitting and Spinning, told me a story about teaching you to spin and you told her you might be more interested in felt making, right?

BW: I told her that I loved her, that I was interested in spinning, but I wasn’t really ready to sit still yet. And so when I said that, she said “Well, you know, there’s this thing called felt making and it’s really active and I think you would like it. Carla is teaching a class here at the Folk School sometime coming up pretty soon and I think you should try that.” So I did.

Continue reading Fabulous Felting with Becky Walker