Category: Fiber

A Visit to the Tapestry Class

Last week turned into Fiber Fanatic week on the Folk School Blog.  I followed Charley Orlando’s knitting class around and they didn’t seem to mind one bit.

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Thursday Highlights in the Knitting Class

We had a great time last night, sitting in the library of the Keith House and having our knit-in. Students who are not in the Aran class were welcome to join us, so we had a refreshing mix of familiar and not-so-familiar faces. Today is a day of knitting to establish and work on patterns within projects.  We need mistakes in the work so we can identify what the students have not mastered as yet.  Let’s hope for a lot to keep us hopping.  I have a feeling that this class is going to plunge right in. Let’s see…

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Needles clicking on Tuesday

“Hey mister smarty-pants instructor, you threw so much stuff at us yesterday that our minds are scrambled.  How about helping us sort out that information?”

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Monday in the Aran Knitting Class

What is Aran knitting anyway?  Aran knitting, sometimes called fisherman style, comes from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland.  Knitters use one color of yarn to create textured patterns like cables, diamonds, and bobbles.

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Follow the Aran-Gansey Knitting Class ~ Part 1

When you bump into Charley Orlando at the Folk School, one can’t assume he is teaching Blacksmithing, though he’s been teaching it here since 1989.  This is because Charley also teaches Tin Can Art and Knitting.  Charley’s classes are usually full with students waiting patiently on the sidelines hoping to get in.  Maybe we should make two of him.  That’s why this week we’re just going to follow Charley around as he takes his class into the world of Gansey and Aran knitting.   Let’s see what we’ll be discovering as the week progresses.

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From Sheep to Shawl with Martha Owen – Part 1

In the Wet Room studio this week we have “Sheep to Shawl” with resident artist Martha Owen.  “This class is a process class, not a production class,” Martha reminded her students.  In the middle of the week we were working with piles of wool, roots, vegetables, bugs, and other such ingredients.  But how would it all come together?

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Folk School Friend: Norman Kennedy

You meet the most interesting people here.  Over the years, I’ve learned from and enjoyed talking to some of the world’s great characters right here in Brasstown.  Shortly after I became the Director of the Folk School, I asked some of my musical and crafts friends to tell me great people we should try to get to teach at the Folk School.  A trusted musical advisor, Beth Ross Johnson, said “Get the great ballad singer Norman Kennedy.”  My weaving advisor (spouse Nanette) said, “Get the great weaver Norman Kennedy.”  These two turned out to be the very same ponytailed Scotsman.  So for the last eighteen years or so, he has made visits to Brasstown which are always memorable for us here, jazzing up weavers and spinners, slamming tweed on the table to the beat of the ancient waulking music, where the singing and the weaving come together, as the song propels the cloth sunwise around the table while all the hands of the people lift it up and slam it down and pass it on to the next waulker.  In this way, the wool is preshrunk, softened, bonded and unified.  The people likewise, except they are not preshrunk.

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Time, Place and Permission

Whether you’re here for the first time, or returning for your sixth visit, the John Campbell Folk School is a destination that’s more a state of mind than a place.  Sure the food is great and the mountains are beautiful, the people are friendly and the classes engaging…but it’s sort of a Peter Pan kind of place.  Each week, more than a hundred grown-ups arrive and leave behind the cares and responsibilities of our adult worlds to play.

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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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