Category: Interviews

Enjoy interviews with Folk School instructors, resident artists, staff, local Brasstown folks, and visitors.

Embracing Appalachian Home Life with Jason Lonon, Blacksmith & Woodworker

Jason Lonon is a professional woodworker and blacksmith. Since 1997, he has studied, practiced, and taught traditional woodworking, carving, and blacksmithing and is a regular instructor at the Folk School. In his blacksmith shop, Jason specializes in making traditional woodworking tools, and for fun he carves wooden bowls and spoons. On August 17, 2020, Jason will be the panelist for our next Appalachian Traditions Discussion. Enjoy our interview!

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If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out with Aubrey Atwater

Using clogging, music, and storytelling to charm Folk School audiences since 1996, Aubrey Atwater exudes a talent, grace, and humor unique to the most talented of performers. She teaches traditional music and dance regularly at the Folk School and while classes are on hiatus, Aubrey joined us for a virtual discussion on Monday, May 18 as part of our Appalachian Traditions discussion series. View the recording of the talk and also enjoy an interview with Aubrey.

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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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Writing Memories into Family Histories: An Interview with Robin Edgar

When you take a Folk School class, you never know who you will meet. Last fall, I had the pleasure of sitting next to Robin Edgar in the herbalism class during Shaker Week. I learned that she and her husband, David Edgar, have been teaching classes at the Folk School since 1996! Robin teaches writing and David teaches the unique craft of turning recycled plastic into fantastic creations. This year, they are both teaching during Earth Week, April 19–24, 2020. In her upcoming class, Turning Fond Memories into Family Histories, students will discover how to use sights, sounds, and even smells to recall and record meaningful memories.

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Enameling Days Are by Far My Favorite Days: An Interview with Ashley Gilreath

Don’t miss this special opportunity to study with an incredibly talented new instructor in our Enameling Studio. Ashley Gilreath describes herself as a metalsmith, enamelist, and time traveler. Ashley hand fabricates all of her work using high quality precious metals and vitreous glass; sometimes utilizing heirlooms or found objects that she scavenges from the dark and secret corners of antique stores. Enjoy our interview!

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Learning about the Shakers with Becky Soules

Every year in the fall at the Folk School, we have a special week celebrating the Shakers contributions to American crafts and culture. This year, Shaker Week took place during November 3–9. In the studios, students took inspiration from the Shakers to craft brooms, baskets, pots, boxes, bowls, culinary delicacies, herbal beverages and more. We had a special visitor, Becky Soules, Interpretation Manager from Canterbury Shaker Village in New Hampshire, who spent the week with us to provide a better context about the Shakers, answering questions and sharing knowledge.

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Bead Addict! The Magic of Bead Making with Terry Hale

I met Terry Hale in the Folk School Enameling Studio where she teaches bead making several times a year. We talked about the joys of craft addiction and how she got hooked on moving glass into beads, what she likes about teaching, what she loves about the Folk School, and more. 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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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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Traces of Beauty: Rust Printing with Lauren Koch

Expand your ideas about printmaking with found objects in a new weekend class taught by artist Lauren Koch: Traces of Beauty: Rust Printing. Rust printing is a unique way of mark making that utilizes steel and iron to create images on paper and cloth. I recently talked to Lauren about her work, rust printing, and her relationship with the Folk School. Enjoy our interview!

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Weavers’ Work Week

In our recent letter from Folk School Director Jerry Jackson, Weavers’ Work Week was featured in Janet Davis’ story (if you missed it, read the letter online here). I thought this would be a great time to talk to Pam Howard, the Folk School’s Resident Weaver, about this special week. Weavers’ Work Week is an annual tradition at the Folk School where skilled weavers are invited to come for a week and volunteer their time to do projects around campus and make improvements in the studio. Let’s learn more from Pam…

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Meet Auctioneer Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan will be our auctioneer at our Gala & Benefit Auction this Saturday. Tim has been involved in the Folk School in so many different ways: instructor, Folk School Board member (1994-2004), Resident Artist in Gardening and Homesteading (2000-2015), storyteller, gardener, auctioneer, kettle cooker, and blacksmith. Let’s get to know him a little bit better!

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The Photographic Tool Box with Stephanie Gross

Do you have a basic understanding of your DSLR camera and want to learn more in-depth techniques for improving your photography? Summertime at the Folk School provides an abundance of photographic material: pastoral landscapes, interesting folks, gardens, old buildings, barns, music, dance, craft studios. Instructor Stephanie Gross has a BFA in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and has been making and thinking about photography for 25 years. Enjoy our interview!

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Current Catalog


Embrace your creative potential, and join us for a life-changing Folk School experience. View the current eCatalog now. You can also search and register for classes here.

Our Top Priority: Health and Safety

As we prepare for 2021 programs, the health and safety of our students, instructors, staff, and community is our top priority. We recognize COVID-19 will likely continue to be a public health concern in 2021, and there is much more to learn about it in the coming months. Read detailed information on safety measures and what you can expect to find at the school on our blog, or on page 9 of the eCatalog.

The Folk School Cookbook

Author Nanette Davidson meticulously collected, curated, and adapted over 200 delicious recipes for The Folk School Cookbook. These include some of the most memorable recipes served family-style in the school’s Dining Hall and at seasonal celebrations over the decades. Bring the Folk School’s culinary traditions into your own kitchen and order your copy today!

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