So Much Yarn, So Little Time!

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Genie Fitzgerald

Our Weaving class met for the first time on Sunday evening after dinner. At that first meeting our instructors, Elaine Bradley and Christie Rogers, gathered information regarding our weaving experience.

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Weaving on the loom

It quickly became clear that while some us had solid weaving skills; others had either minimal skill or no experience at all. However, by Monday morning our instructors had each of us working away on our first projects. With grace and patience they guided us through the process and answered all our questions.

Throughout the week our skill levels rose, and we were offering guidance to each other. By the end of the week we all had at least one and most if us two well executed completed projects. As I write this I am looking around our weaving studio. Everyone is working independently and with confidence.

What a tribute to the teaching ability of our instructors!

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My Final Project

In the Printmaking Studio with Gay Bryant

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A student and Gay Bryant
The ten participants watched, listened, and experimented. The result: amazing portraits of children, grandchildren, pets and self-portraits that were completed in a variety of printmaking styles. Enjoy some photos from our class.

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Printed Portraits
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Inking up the linoleum plate
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Carving the block print

Maybe this has sparked your interest in what you can do in printmaking! Browse the upcoming classes at the Folk School.

Vacations at the Folk School: A Family Affair

Orchard House view
Family vacations at the Folk School are peaceful, fun, engaging, and satisfying.

Oh the family vacation – a pillar of American leisure life! From the classic road trip, to the cruise on the ocean, or a trip abroad, we all try to find a perfect setting to spend quality time with our loved ones. Finding a place everyone will enjoy can be challenging. The Folk School is a wonderful choice for a family vacation destination for many reasons.

Taking a Glass Bead Class with your sister is fun! And remember... non-competitive!
Taking a Glass Bead Class with your sister is fun! And remember… non-competitive!

Located just two hours “from anywhere” as most locals like to say, it is convenient to find your way to the Folk School with your family or meet them here. With housing, meals, and activities on campus you do not need to worry about the hassles of transportation, feeding your family, or finding things for everyone to do. With a wide variety of classes offered every week, family members can pick a subject that they have personally always wanted to learn about. If you opt to take a class solo, there is plenty of time left for family congregation at meals, demonstrations, concerts, dances, and off-time considering everyone is on the same schedule.

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Amy shows her handmade book embellished with her husband’s glass bead.

This spring I ran into two sisters and their best friend who were all taking a Glass Beads class together. All were new to glass, and they were having a blast learning this new craft together, sharing in the creativity and learning process.

Husbands and wives often come to the Folk School together and taken different classes during the same week. I met Amy Edwards in Holly Fouts’ Book Arts class who was making a book cover with a bead closure. The bead was created by her husband earlier that same week over in his Glass Bead class over on Studio Row. We love to see collaborative work between classes and people!

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White-Line Printing with Sandy Webster

"Crow" Block and Print by Sandy Webster instructor of "White-line Printmaking" January 5-11, 2014
“Crow” Block and Print by Sandy Webster

A lot of people think they can’t dance. But then they try contra dancing: they can jump right in as a beginner. The moves are straightforward, and they don’t need any special skills. With practice, they become smoother and learn some extra moves, but the initial learning curve is a mere ripple in the road.

White line printmaking is the contra dance of the art world. I spent last week in Sandy Webster’s printmaking class and enjoyed every minute of it.

I’d chosen the class for many reasons: I like how woodblock prints look, and the class had a low materials cost. I would not have to buy expensive tools and could use my old watercolor set. As I had hoped, the technique proved to be one that I can easily continue to do at home, even without a studio space.

"White-line Printmaking" Process: Poppy Line Drawing, Poppy Board, Poppy Print
White-line Printmaking Process: Line Drawing, Board, and Print by Emily Buehler

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Indigo Fun at the Folk School

Cindy Alley wrote a great blog about her experience as a student in last week’s “Yoruba Batik, Adire, and Tie Dye” with Gasali Adeyemo (Oct. 20-25, 2013):

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Mart, Cindy, Gasali, Judy, Mom

Just back from another wonderful week at John C. Campbell Folk School. I went with two State College friends, Mart and Judy, and my mom from Cleveland. It was a wonderful week. Gasali is a native Nigerian from the Yaruban tribe. The Yarubans are known for their indigo fabric.

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Indigo ball from Nigeria

Indigo grows wild in Nigeria. They harvest the leaves and pound them into tiny bits in a wooden container with big wooden poles. When it is chopped into pieces, it is mixed with wood ash. Handfuls are scooped out and pressed into balls and dried. These are used to start a dye pot.

Before our class started Sunday evening, Gisali took about 95 of these balls and placed them in a big pot with water. They needed to sit for three or four days as they ferment. As he put them in the pot, he called to the “Lady of the Indigo” saying her name three times, praying the indigo would work.

Sunday evening we met for a little while. Besides our four, there were 8 other students and our able assistant, Charlotte.   Gisali welcomed us and told us a little about the history of indigo. Since just dyeing fabric blue would be a boring week, we would be learning how to put designs on our fabric. These are called resists as where the design will be resists the dye.  

There were four types of resist we would be learning:
• Adire eleko is a paste resist (If someone just says Adire, this is the technique they are referring to)
Adire oniko is a tied resist
Adire alabere is a stitched resist
Adire alabela which is a wax resist, the Yaruban version of batik

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Gasali Adeyemo

Gasali himself is a wonderful teacher – very gentle and soft-spoken, caring greatly that his students enjoy the process.  He laughs a lot and answers questions carefully.

After our introduction, we were dismissed and could go to our cottages and collapse in bed.  It had taken two days of driving to get here.  We were glad to sleep…

Keep reading about Cindy’s fun Folk School week in it’s entirety and see all the photos on her blog: Penguin Alley Creations.