We began week 2 at the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina by visiting a gypsy wagon owned by a local gal, Misty Taylor. It’s about a quarter of the size of ours, is mainly a sitting room with a couch that converts into a bed and is a very cozy little space. The bright painting is very charming. I’m envious of the mollycroft (that raised-roof skylight down the center) too; next caravan we build will have to have one!
Back at the Folk School, Peter thought teaching ukulele might be easier than teaching book arts, just because less materials are required. We hauled around lots of paper, cardboard, paint, etc during last week’s class; this week he only had his uke to keep track of. But he worked really hard at helping beginning ukulele players learn enough to actually play confidently and enthusiastically in front of the whole school at lunch on Thursday and then at each studio that afternoon.
It is so fun to see beginning artists and musicians with those big proud smiles!
I had a conversation with another instructor here about how some classes have instant rewards. On the first day of the cooking class, for instance, they got to eat yummy Indian food. On the first day of the basket-making class taught by JoAnn and Steve Catsos, they stripped black ash for hours and hours. Their baskets didn’t get made until later in the week. The ukulele class was a bit like the basket making class. At the end of the first day everyone was a bit weary and brain-dead, but they had learned their first two chords and some songs to sing with them.
The jewelry studio.
In my class, which was basic jewelry metal smithing, (with a great jeweler and teacher from Mississippi, Susan K. Jones,) the rewards came early as we learned stone setting, soldering and sawing of metals on the first day. I loved the class. I was able to work along at my own pace and so accomplished a bunch. Thanks to Susan and her assistant Kay Patterson (a great metal worker and felter) for all the inspiration!
Here are some of the pieces I made. I did some more metal work, not shown here, for me to use later on books.
John C. Campbell Folk School believes that music rounds out the experience of the artist (that is all of us, folks) so each morning they have music. The title of this post is from a Danish poem that talks of singing (expressing joy) while plowing (working), which brings fulfillment.
Singing and playing in the Keith House Community Room at "Morning Song"
Peter led the music on Thursday and I joined him as he introduced the ukulele to the folk school. This was the first time they had offered a ukulele class! Everyone wanted to know what songs were ukulele songs. We played Hawaiian, folk, old time and 60s pop too! We had fun and they did too.
On the last night, we jammed outside the jewelry studio with some locals. We played fiddle and old-timey tunes and sang Kate Wolf and Gillian Welch songs. What a nice evening.
One last note: Have you ever had moonshine? A classmate, Jessica, says that everyone has it around here. That’s not true in California, I say.
Two sips were just enough.
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