Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Folk School week works wonders!

Every week at the John C. Campbell Folk School is different...and each one is wonderful!
While teaching there the week of March 4--9, I received several special gifts. Not the kind that are wrapped up in paper and bows, but moments that take you by surprise and continue to delight as they pop into mind.
The first one I was hoping for: Daffodils!
Just one of the many varieties
This is a flower that does not grow in Florida, so I must fill my eyes with them whenever possible. They were growing all over the campus, along the paths and near the buildings. As I stopped to get this quick picture, the photography teacher happened along and gave a suggestion for a better shot (I should have done it!). That's how it is at the Folk School, though. You can get some really helpful instruction even in the parking lot, along a wooded path or waiting in line for the dining hall to open.
Another gift was seeing a huge flock of red-wing blackbirds rise up out of a field. No photo could have contained that!

My best gift was the small class of quilters. We had such a luxurious time in a studio that can easily hold 12+...plenty of design wall space, cutting tables that didn't have to be cleared off, and no waiting for an iron.
Who wouldn't want to be here?
One student was at the Folk School for the first time, along with her husband who took the Marquetry class (a wood inlay process). They both survived the usual feelings of being overwhelmed and confused early in the week and by the last two days they were sailing along and thinking about when they could return.
A short week (5 nights), long week (6 nights) or weekend here is the perfect couples vacation. You can each do whatever you want, and have something interesting to talk about at the end of the day!

The other two ladies were returning students who had been to the Folk School many times.  One came with her son, who was in the Blacksmith class adding to skills learned there previously. One came by herself.
For them the week was leaving behind a series of difficult situations and stepping into a world apart, like a peaceful island devoted solely to their own interests. They had fun, and played and learned.
I got this in an email: "The stress disappeared last week." That says it all!

There are no rewards for being the fastest, or getting the most done, but we sure did a lot in 5 days! Besides the great work below, we also covered how to make a pot holder, a Goose Unit, fabric selection and, of course, how to finish the quilt later!
Gayle added some creative touches and extra blocks

Caroline told the story in pink

Jean is now  looking for an outside border
You may recognize some of the block patterns from the Folk School ad in many quilt magazines. They did come from ones made in my class! I chose these traditional patterns for telling the story of how the Folk School was founded, so this quilt really does have a tale to tell.

At the last minute I decided to bring a bunch of scraps:
Just the top 1/3 of my container at home
That was a good call, as everyone used at least one scrap in their blocks. We also had visitors from the Appalachian Women's Work class who came looking for some fabric and were lucky to find that these scraps were well-trained, having been used in other quilts!

I was back in the farmhouse, sleeping in Olive Campbell's room again:
When I say campus think "farm."
My downstairs neighbor said her alarm clock was dropped to the floor by Olive's ghost, but so far I have not heard or seen anything of her.
The rooms are comfortable and located all around the campus in a variety of old & new buildings with colorful names like Little House, Rock House, Orchard House and Log House.
Three daily meals served family style allow all the students and teachers to interact. I always meet interesting people.. deer hunters, college professors, small business owners. They come from everywhere, even as far as Alaska!

Just about everything for the Folk School is online and they are always working to make the website better. The newest idea is to be able to search for two kinds of classes at the same time, making it easy for the woodworkers and quilters (for example) to find a week when they can go together!
Classes through December this year are online, and the classes for next year will be added when the new catalog comes out. You can get on the mailing list and also ask for a catalog:

I'll be teaching again May 12--18, can't come too soon!