Category: Wood

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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Folk School Holiday Memories with Carolyn Anderson

Carolyn Anderson is a long-standing member of the renowned Brasstown Carvers and a member of The Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Always quick with encouragement to new carvers, she possesses a sweet and generous nature and is a genuine embodiment of the Folk School’s values of Joy, Kindness, and Stewardship.

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Coming Full Circle: An Interview with Lindsey Liden, Resident Artist in Woodworking

Lindsey Liden is a 7th generation Brasstown native and his family has been associated with the Folk School since 1925. After time traveling, studying, and exploring, he has resettled down in Brasstown and has recently built his woodworking shop, Mulheron Craft, on his family’s farm in Brasstown. Lindsey enjoys making handmade banjos and fine furniture. He is also a regular instructor and our Resident Artist in Woodworking. Enjoy our interview!

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The Importance of Being a Student: An Interview with Jeff Hornung

Jumpstarted by a Folk School woodturning class nine years ago, Jeff Hornung began his own woodturning business after recovering from post-concussion syndrome. Now, he is a Folk School instructor, juried artist, national and international demonstrator, author, and Artist-in-Residence at the Craft Alliance School of Art + Design in St. Louis, Missouri.

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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. Enjoy our interview!

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I Made a Classic Appalachian-style Ladderback Chair with Lyle Wheeler

Lyle Wheeler, a longtime Folk School instructor in both Woodworking and Blacksmithing, is a treasure of the Folk School. The week I spent years ago, building a ladderback chair with Lyle, changed the way I think about craft and my own capabilities as a maker. I am excited that later this month Lyle will be giving a Zoom presentation on June 15 as part of the Folk School’s Appalachian Traditions Discussion series. I encourage you to tune into his talk, and learn from this wonderful self-proclaimed “all-around “good ol’ boy” from Millers Creek, North Carolina.”

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The Folk School on WREK Radio Atlanta

Did you get a chance to listen to the interview about the Folk School with Pattie Bagley, Mark Hendry and Jack Smoot on The Avenue Lounge Show on WREK Radio 91.1 FM, Atlanta, GA? If you missed the live show modern technology has preserved the interview for all to enjoy, at any time, here on Soundcloud. Learn about some Folk School history and also about Pattie, Mark, and Jack’s personal stories and experiences.

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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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