Arts, Crafts, and Folklore Classes

Arts, Crafts, and Folklore Classes

July 9 – August 12, 2017

Over 40 years ago, Augusta began as a craft and folklore program with an emphasis on traditional Appalachian culture. Today, week-long craft and folklore classes are offered throughout the summer session alongside music and dance workshops, concerts, public dances and special presentations that cover the history and literature of many traditions. Craft and folklore classes are limited in size, with minimum ages for some classes for reasons of safety. Classes meet all day, typically from 9 a.m. to noon, break for lunch and resume from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Our craft studios often buzz with activity late into the night as students immerse themselves in their projects. Students sign up for one class per week.

Tuition Guide:
$475/week if paid before June 1. $515/week if paid after June 1.
(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Cajun & Creole and Classic Country Week

(July 9-14)

Click the workshop title to expand for detailed workshop descriptions and instructor bios.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.) – Woody Harman

Woody Harman

As a self-taught artist blacksmith, Woody Harman has developed his skill and knowledge to work hot iron. Using age old techniques, a coal forge, hammer, tongs, and an anvil along with modern techniques and tools, he creates artistic items such as floral designed sculptures and utilitarian items such as fireplace screens and tool sets. Most often his creations have a combination of both the aesthetically pleasing and functional qualities that can be found in an ornate personal chalk board for note taking.

To most people, a blacksmith is characterized by his sheer brute strength. They miss the mark when they don’t recognize his mental abilities. The blacksmith’s brain, imagination, and visualization are more important than his brawn. Woody’s creativity is a direct reflection of his ability to imagine and he strongly feels that one’s imagination is the only limit to creating something unique and artistic in the blacksmith shop.

His attention to detail in this art form is what makes each of his iron pieces an heirloom treasure. His journey as an iron worker has been a tremendous enjoyment from receiving the response that he refers to as the “WOW” factor from those who take the time to appreciate his hand-craftsmanship.

He is a juried member of Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, and the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op. He has maintained a membership with the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America and other various blacksmithing organizations since the late 1970s and is a current member of the Appalachian Blacksmith Association. Researching blacksmithing books and attending various blacksmithing hammer-ins and events are his passions.

Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.)

Explore the foundational skills of blacksmithing in an energetic and active, hands-on class of moving metal. Starting and maintaining a coal fire will be the first lesson. Students will learn the parts of the anvil and be shown an ergonomic and safe way to develop hammer control. The class will move on to explore the essential skills to draw, upset, split and taper black iron. Using these techniques, students will develop a strong foundation of the basics to create artistic and functional items while they gain skill in manipulating stock. The primary goal is for each student to gain comfort in their forging ability.
Projects will include a series of small, functional items such as wall hooks and household items. Depending upon time and ability, students may move on to their own projects or create items from samples provided by the instructor. While attention to design and details will be demonstrated, any range of eccentric, zany or unexpected designs will be encouraged. Projects can be as creative as your imagination.

This class is appropriate for beginning and intermediate smiths. No prior experience or skill is required, but some arm strength is helpful. Beginners will receive one-on-one assistance and instruction. Advanced-beginners and intermediate smiths are welcome to sharpen their skills, improve their attention to details and learn how to work more efficiently. Bring your curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity. Safety glasses, welding gloves and leather covered shoes for secure footing are required.
Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to Augusta at time of registration.

Cajun Cooking (All Levels) – Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller from Iota, Louisiana, is a prizewinning cook and the author of two Cajun cookbooks. She teaches the secrets of authentic home-style Cajun cooking. She will be assisted by Judie Smith.

Cajun Cooking (All Levels)

Learn the secrets of the Cajun kitchen, from roux to sauce piquante and étoufée, the typical home-style cooking which is an essential part of the culture of southwestern Louisiana.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: Approx. $50, payable to workshop leader.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Instrument Repair I (All Levels) – Bob Smakula, assisted by Dorse Gillum – Please note, Instrument Repair Week 2 is still open.

Bob Smakula

Bob Smakula of Montrose, WV, has been building and restoring fretted instruments for more than 40 years. He has encountered almost every type of instrument repair situation and buys, sells, and restores vintage stringed instruments through his internationally known business, Smakula Fretted Instruments. Bob, an award-winning fiddler and banjo player, is also a contributing editor for Old-Time Herald magazine and writes a regular column on instrument repair.

Instrument Repair I (All Levels)

Participants will learn how to make nuts and saddles, do fret jobs, re-set necks, make intonation adjustments, repair cracks, touch-up finishes, and more. Participants should bring their own instruments in need of repair. It is strongly recommended that participants be familiar with woodworking tools such as a band saw, belt sander, and drill press. Participants may sign up for either or both weeks. When registering, please specify Week 1 and/or Week 2. Bob will be taking the year off from teaching in 2018, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this master repairman!

Ages 18 & up. Materials: Approx. $15, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL – Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels) – Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn is a native of southeastern Ohio and has traveled extensively in the states as well as abroad. She has been making jewelry for over two decades, and weaving and tanning leather for over the last decade. She has completed multiple programs in herbalism, wildcrafting, survival skills, and midwifery. Talcon has dedicated much time to studying and practicing these skills outside of these programs and has also befriended talented teachers across the globe to expand her knowledge and keep the tradition of folk teaching alive. She has also challenged herself to obtain materials for her crafts in an ethical and sustainable sound way.

Traveling and learning from others in the folk tradition keeps the stories, history, and culture of the crafts alive. Talcon strongly believes that it is important for humans to understand where we came from, how our ancestors lived, and the stories they shared about the plants, animals, crafts, and the world around them. By teaching and practicing these old and not yet forgotten crafts, she strives to inspire others to slow down and connect with the natural world. She hopes to create waves of change and inspiration for everyone to respect themselves, each other, and the world in which we live.

Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels)

This workshop will cover two basketry techniques: folding tulip poplar bark into baskets, and weaving wicker baskets with willow branches.

Humans have folded bark into containers for centuries, and tulip poplar bark was one of the preferred materials to make such containers by Native Americans and then European settlers. Wicker basketry is a style of weaving that was developed in Europe and the knowledge and skill of this weaving was brought to the Americas by early settlers. These types of containers are still very useful today and are a beautiful reminder of timeless craftsmanship.

To make tulip bark baskets, participants will peel the bark from a tulip poplar log, make the cuts to fold the container, and prepare materials to sew the sides. Participants will leave with a gorgeous container and the knowledge with which to make one again.

Willow is the traditional material used for wicker weaving that creates a basket that is strong, utilitarian, and very beautiful. Participants will learn multiple weaves, where to obtain materials, how to prepare materials for weaving, how to grow and propagate willow for weaving, as well as how to cure it. Participants will leave with a beautiful pack basket that they made themselves plus all the skills to do it again! (Note: Participants will weave at different speeds. Slower weavers may need to dedicate more time to complete their projects by the end of the week.)

Participants are encouraged to bring a pocketknife and a pair of garden shears (handheld clippers, not long-handled ones). The workshop leader will provide some to share, but participants are welcome to bring their own.

Ages 13 & up. Materials: $95, payable to workshop leader.

Blues & Swing Week (July 16-21)

Click the workshop title to expand for detailed workshop descriptions and instructor bios.

Instrument Repair II (All levels) – Bob Smakula, assisted by Dorse Gillum

Bob Smakula

Bob Smakula of Montrose, WV, has been building and restoring fretted instruments for more than 40 years. He has encountered almost every type of instrument repair situation and buys, sells, and restores vintage stringed instruments through his internationally known business, Smakula Fretted Instruments. Bob, an award-winning fiddler and banjo player, is also a contributing editor for Old-Time Herald magazine and writes a regular column on instrument repair.

Instrument Repair II (All levels)

Participants will learn how to make nuts and saddles, do fret jobs, re-set necks, make intonation adjustments, repair cracks, touch-up finishes, and more. Participants should bring their own instruments in need of repair. It is strongly recommended that participants be familiar with woodworking tools such as a band saw, belt sander, and drill press. Participants may sign up for either or both weeks. When registering, please specify Week 1 and/or Week 2. Bob will be taking the year off from teaching in 2018, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this master repairman!

Ages 18 & up. Materials: Approx. $15, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Re-purposed Leatherwork (Int.) – Kimberly Joy Trathen

Kimberly Joy Trathen (CLASS CANCELLED)

Kimberly Joy Trathen runs a one-woman textile design studio born out of a love of sewing, recycling, reclaiming, and repurposing. Her work examines the social lifecycle of our textiles and garments–from their death to rebirth–weaving together the stories of discarded materials into new works and new narratives.

Originally from Okemos, Michigan, Kimberly Joy Trathen has lived in many parts of the country and travelled to different corners of the world. She studied music and anthropology at Michigan State University, and went on to get her master’s in cultural and development studies at the Katholieke Universiteit of Leuven in Belgium.

Her bags and two-dimensional works are inspired by vintage and classical designs, particularly mid-century and abstract art motifs, as well as non-traditional quilt patterns, especially those of Gees Bend. She uses geometric and abstract patterns, and stark color combinations to create original works of art regardless of their form.

In 2015, Kimberly was awarded a professional development grant for artists through the WV Division of Culture and History. She is also a recipient of the Rural to Urban Markets program through the Tamarack Foundation for the Arts. She exhibits and sells her bags, accessories, and two-dimensional works both nationally and internationally.

Kimberly splits her time between the bustling capital of Europe, Brussels, Belgium, and Thomas, WV, a small mountain town in the heart of Appalachia. While in Brussels, she works with a master accessories designer and leather worker learning his skills and craft, and extends this knowledge and experience into her own designs and creations while in Thomas.

Re-purposed Leatherwork

This beginning leather working class will focus on the upcycling and transformation of second hand leather garments into new bags and accessories. As working and sewing with leather requires different techniques than sewing fabric, students will acquire the skills to create and sew different types bags from recycled leather. Areas of focus will be pattern making for leather bags; deconstructing leather garments; leather tools and techniques; and assembling, stitching, and finishing a leather bag on a home sewing machine.

Pattern-making for Leather Bags: Students will learn basic pattern making skills for the creation of a couple different types of leather bags and accessories. They will learn to use appropriate materials to make different bag patterns of their choice to use with leather. Cardboard for the patterns will be supplied by the instructor. Students will need to bring their own rulers, pencils, and pens.
Deconstructing Leather Garments: Students will learn the basics of choosing quality used leather garments to create durable bags and accessories. They will learn how to appropriately deconstruct these garments to minimize waste and maximize material. Second hand leather garments will be provided by the instructor.

Leather Tools and Techniques: Students will gain knowledge of certain tools and techniques for working with upcycled leather to create well-made bags with a finished look. Techniques include how to add snaps and rivets, choosing appropriate bag closures, and creating a finished look. A limited supply of snaps and rivets will be provided by the instructor. Note: Tooling or leather stamping will not be covered in this course.

Assembling and Stitching your Bag: After all the above techniques are mastered, students will learn how to assemble their bag and stitch it on their home machine. Specific leather assembling techniques will be taught as well as stitching techniques for sewing leather. The instructor will provide leather needles for each student. Students will be responsible for bringing their own working sewing machine. Teflon or plastic sewing feet for sewing leather are also recommended but not required. Students will need an intermediate level of previous sewing experience to take part in this course.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to workshop leader.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL Stained Glass & Glass Fusing (All Levels) – David Houser & Mary Stewart

Dave Houser & Mary Stewart

Since 1981, Dave Houser has been a full-time stained glass artisan, working out of his home in the woods of southern Preston County, WV. From there he designs and executes leaded stained glass panels, ornaments, and kaleidoscopes. His leaded panels tend to be either geometric or abstract in design, commanding a high degree of precision and appropriate use of color. For the past 15 years he has been an instructor as well, teaching week-long stained glass classes at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley, WV, and at Augusta. You can visit Dave on the web at:

Mary Stewart’s work in stained glass, warm glass, and copper enameling has roots within the rich rubric of traditional Appal-Irish culture—both in process and in design. Each piece that she creates by hand is inspired by a story, and she wants the work she presents to the public to tell that story. As a teacher of these crafts, she tries to help students convey similar messages. She is a juried Tamarack Artisan and has been creating and teaching for many years.

Stained Glass & Glass Fusing (All Levels)

Learn hot and cold glass techniques in this combined class. Open to glass enthusiasts of all levels. The class will begin with basics of glass cutting, safety, and materials.

With stained glass, you will cut, solder and assemble beautiful panels with glass from both domestic and European sources using leaded and copper foil techniques. Students can bring their own designs or use in-house patterns.

Understand the science of fusing and work in free forming fused pieces, screening and/or sifting glass enamel to apply design, fritography, hot mosaic and slumping as time permits. Your creativity is only limited by the space in the kiln and the time we have to work together.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: approx. $50, payable to workshop leader.

Upcycled Aluminum Can Jewelry (Beg./Int.) – Merideth Young

Merideth Young (CLASS CANCELLED)

While walking through the grocery store, Merideth Young had an ah-ha moment in aisle 7, the beverage aisle. She noticed all the colors and patterns on beverage cans. She thought to herself, “I wonder what I can make out of that?” Making a purchase of beautiful turquoise and pink iced tea cans, she consumed them and thus began making her first piece of UPcycled aluminum can jewelry. More than a dozen prototypes later, she finally had a pattern she deemed worthy enough to put out into the world. That’s how the “Uncanny Collection” was born in October 2011. The collection has grown since and now includes wall pieces and more. It can be found in over 100 shops and galleries across the country.

Saving the planet was her main focus for creating things out of aluminum cans. There are so many good things tossed aside every day that could be put to some use. Finding a way to repurpose some of it is Merideth’s way to help the environment. She creates beautiful, lightweight, fun, and funky jewelry by UPcycling aluminum cans. She uses no electricity for this process, which is another plus for the environment. Cans come to her from the local recycle center, restaurants, friends, family, and anyone who she notices that throws out a cool, colorful can. It’s repurposed for art’s sake!

Merideth is a jeweler, painter, and art maker. She is inspired by shapes, colors, and her surroundings. She begins with the abstract, the big picture. She’ll sketch boldly until the details unfold and come into focus, kind of like the way she lives her life. She has always been an art maker, even as a kid. It wasn’t something she tried to do, she just did it. She always knew she was going to be an artist. She was fortunate to grow up in Southern New Hampshire during a decade that appreciated art in schools. That’s where she discovered jewelry making. She made an enameled broach and was hooked.

When she graduated from high school, Merideth applied to only one college, Maine College of Art in Portland. After she graduated with a BFA in Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design in 1995, she moved to West Virginia. Tamarack, The Best of West Virginia, was the first shop to sell her sterling silver jewelry. During this time she also painted murals in homes and offices all over West Virginia. What a juggling act! She was a whirlwind of creativity. Her spirit was getting restless and she moved several times, living in Vail, CO; Charlottesville, VA; and Corolla, NC, in the Outer Banks, before she made the journey back to West Virginia. Once again she is part of the Tamarack family, exhibiting the “Uncanny Collection,” and painting murals across the state.

Upcycled Aluminum Can Jewelry (Beg./Int.)

This beginner level class is perfect for anyone who wants to learn the basics of jewelry making with a twist. Using simple tools like paper punches, nail files, and pliers, participants will transform ordinary pop cans into an array of necklaces, earrings, and bracelets for any occasion. All materials will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring their own favorite cans, rinsed please. Participants will learn how to cut a can safely, punch shapes, and select the best tools. Embossing techniques, layering techniques, and sanding edges so all jewelry is smooth to the touch will be covered. Participants can add eyelets and rhinestones, and finish with findings to complete at least two pairs of earrings, three necklaces, and two bracelets throughout the week-long class. If time permits, additional jewelry can be made for a nominal fee for findings and chains.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $30, payable to workshop leader.

Bluegrass Week (July 30-August 4)

Click the workshop title to expand for detailed workshop descriptions and instructor bios.

Blacksmithing: Sculpture Studio and Metal Finishes (Int./Adv.) – Lucas Warner


Lucas Warner’s first experience working with forged metal was eighteen years ago. His family had just met Jeff Fetty, and while he and Lucas’s parents talked and shared stories in Jeff’s studio, Lucas was at Jeff’s coal forge with one hand on the blower and one hand on a hammer. The white-hot steel Lucas pulled out of the forge fascinated him. He began by pounding on the metal with no particular direction in mind. Soon, Jeff showed him how to form a taper and how to use the horn of the anvil to bend the taper into a coat hook. As a nine-year-old, Lucas did not have much control with a hammer, but all around him in Jeff’s blacksmith shop, he saw examples of the possibilities hidden in the nuances of hammer blows, precise selection of chisels and hardy tools, and in the careful application of protective and artistic finishes. This articulation in words only came years later because to his nine-year-old eyes, all those feelings were drowned out by total awe.

His whole life, Lucas has been a maker and a doer with strong tendencies toward making creations that are aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. He spent his childhood surrounded by artistic expression. He remembers spending late nights in the dim red light of his dad’s darkroom, watching as he moved photographic paper from the enlarger into the developer bath where the images emerged from blank paper. His dad taught him how to use his eye to see the beauty we all search for. His whole life he has used his eye to isolate and distill the beauty in what surrounds him and to recognize as beautiful things that his eyes would have otherwise glanced over. Although he hated lugging his dad’s tripod around, Lucas loved accompanying him on his expeditions into nature and other cultures where they would see things no one else had ever seen.

Lucas is drawn to blacksmithing because of the manner in which form flows from the cold, hard steel starting material. The vision required to imagine a solid chunk of metal into a graceful, sometimes lighter-than-air piece of sculpture is as much a challenge as using hammers and fire to elevate that rigid form to that higher level. He is pleased to find that his sense of aesthetic has been shaped by the people around whom he grew up, including a lifetime of Augusta experiences.

Blacksmithing: Sculpture Studio and Metal Finishes (Int./Adv.)

This class will allow participants to explore some of the more technical and advanced possibilities of metal design through a look at aesthetic and form, as well as the effect the final finish can have on the end product. While the scope of the class is inherently constrained by the week-long nature of the course, the goal of the class will be to broaden concepts of what is possible while using a variety of hand tools and hand forging techniques that can be expanded upon, scaled up, scaled down, and adapted. With a focus on sculpture, participants will learn the importance of striking a balance between executing a plan, such as from a drawing, and allowing the hot steel and hammer to speak for themselves in their own unique language.

In addition to the time spent forging and creating sculpture, a significant portion of the class will be devoted to metal finishes. The way a piece of metal art is finished can mean the difference between success and failure of that piece of art. The class will discuss the merits of paints, patinas, and natural finishes, and the technical details of achieving a desired finish.

Participants should come into this class with some forge time under their belts. As with most art forms, physical strength is less important than good technique and control and a willingness to learn and adapt to new skills and environments. Participants are free to bring their favorite hammers, tongs, gloves, etc. Hammers and tools appropriate to the class will also be provided. Participants are asked to bring their own ear and eye protection – these are required. Steel toe shoes are not absolutely required, but leather boots are strongly suggested to protect against sparks.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to Augusta at time of registration.

Green Wood Utensil Carving (Beg./Int.) – Stan Jennings


Stan Jennings is a tenth generation West Virginia native. He lives in Evansville with his wife Sue, where they own and operate a successful wood working business, Allegheny Treenware. Started in 1990, they are self taught wood workers. They begin the creative process with purchasing the logs. Using their saw mill, Stan custom saws four thicknesses of wood and air dries the wood before taking it into their shop. Over 180 different types of hardwood kitchen utensils are created by hand at Allegheny Treenware. They currently have eight employees who join them daily to create and market their extensive line.

Stan has a BS in biology from Fairmont State University. He has worked as a laborer, carpenter, and coal miner before taking on the role of woodworker. He has studied the history of the craft and created his own custom shaving horse which transports easily to shows and demonstrations. He has won several best demonstrator awards at fairs and festivals in the eastern United States. His style of carving is very traditional, sometimes compared to Scandinavian style. He has taken a number of young apprentices under his wing at shows and taught them how to carve spoons. His patience and good humor make him a natural at this role of teacher.

Green Wood Utensil Carving (Beg./Int.)

Anyone who enjoys using their hands and working with wood can make a wooden spoon. No prior experience is necessary. It’s a simple process using mostly simple hand tools on a shaving horse, a process which dates back 2000 years. This class will use different species of West Virginia native hardwoods for freshly harvested spoon stock. The higher moisture content of the green wood can be carved easier than seasoned or dried wood. Participants will still need a little arm and hand strength. Working on a shaving horse can be tiring, and the seat can be hard, so participants are encouraged to bring some padding to sit on. Once participants get the hang of it, working on the shaving horse can be a relaxing, stress relieving therapy. After participants learn the basics and make a couple spoons, they will be free to design their own spoon or copy examples provided by the instructor. Everyone will work at her / his own pace. Hopefully participants will make two or three spoons per day. After the spoons have dried for at least 24 hours, participants will learn how to finish them.

Here is a brief outline of the spoon making process, including tools that will be used.

Starting with a section of hardwood log
Halving and quartering log. Tools: 8lb sledge hammer, wedges, ax
Riving out billots. Tools: Fro, dogwood mallet
Marking and cutting spoon blanks out of billots. Tools: A bandsaw is safer and faster than a hatchet, but the instructor will demonstrate how to use the hatchet for those who are interested.
Working on the shaving horse
Rough shaping spoon blank. Tools: 4″ draw knife
Laying out the cup of the spoon. Tools: dividers
Carving the spoon cup out. Tools: Bent gouges, spoon gouges
Finishing back of spoon and handle. Tools: Flat and concave spokeshaves, draw knife
Let dry for 24 hours
Sand out inside of cup with foredom sander
Drum sander
Wood burn

The instructor will provide shaving horses and basic tools for participants to share. It’s not necessary to buy any of the tools for this class, but participants are encouraged tools they may already have at home. Quality tools are becoming very expensive, so it would be best to take the class first before deciding to invest in a set.

For participants who are considering purchasing tools, here is a helpful list compiled by Stan, with current pricing from Woodcraft:

Gouges for beginning carvers:
# 7 Sweep 25mm Bent Gouge ($64.99)
#8 Sweep 25mm Bent Gouge ($57.50)
#8 Sweep 25mm Spoon Gouge ($46.99)
Gouges for experienced carvers:
# 7 Sweep 35mm Bent Gouge ($72.99)
#8 Sweep 35mm Bent Gouge ($89.99)
#7 Sweep 30mm Spoon Gouge ($64.99)
The 25mm gouges take less strength to use, but it takes longer to gouge out a spoon. Stan recommends the Swiss made Pfeil gouges from Woodcraft. (Make sure to get bent gouges, not straight gouges.)

4” Drawknife: Pfeil makes a 4 ½” carvers’ drawknife. The handles must come off at a 45 degree angle to the plane of the cutter. ($81.99)
Adjustable Flat Spoke Shave: The old Stanley #151 spoke shave one sees in antique shops work great. It’s best to get the one with two adjusting screws on top of the blade. ($20-40)
Concave Spoke Shave: Stan uses a Clifton #550 with a 2 ½” diameter curve. It is great for rounding handles and the back of the spoon cup. It is also very expensive, so one can get by reasonably well with a flat spoke shave. ($130-140)
Dividers: These are used to lay out the design. They are available for $5-10 at antique shops.
Safety Glasses
First Aid Kit (especially adhesive bandages)

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $25, payable to workshop leader.

Natural Clays and Function in Pottery Production Techniques – Beginning / Intermediate – Michael Ray


Michael Ray’s business, West Fork Pottery, began in one sense like many other good entrepreneurial stories. It was a dream, a spark in the brown eyes of a 10-year-old boy. On a chilly October day in 1995 at a street festival in Cambridge, Ohio, Mike Ray peered out from behind the hood of his coat, mesmerized by a spinning slab of clay being molded patiently in the hands of Walt Taylor–the movement, the textures, the seemingly effortless rhythm of this dance between the potter and the clay.

In another sense, West Fork Pottery began many years before. Figurines of animals and people were made from clay as early as 24,000 B.C., and between approximately 9,000-10,000 B.C., functional pottery for food and water storage was created. Pottery as both art and necessity has been passed down through generations from one potter to the next ever since.

Likewise, pottery masters like Vernon Allen and Jeff Greenham passed the gift of pottery on to Mike. Much of Mike’s exploration of pottery was on his own, though, as a living history interpreter at Pricketts Fort State Park, where he learned to build and fire kilns, mix clays from local materials, and explore glaze chemistry. Thus, West Fork Pottery was born from Mike’s love for history, the perfect slab of clay, and the desire to make art that’s part of everyday life.

He believes a mug should comfortably wrap itself around your hand, a soup bowl should make you feel as warm as the chicken noodle soup that’s in it, and the planters on your front porch should make you smile when you come home. But, it’s more than this. West Fork Pottery is both a celebration of the little pieces of art that are part of our everyday lives, and a reflection of the history upon which our society has been built.

Into to Working with Local Clay Using Traditional Techniques (Beg./Int.)

Throughout Earth’s history, weathering has caused the breakdown and deposit of silicates such as clay. This resource can be hunted, extracted, and processed by the potter for use in clay bodies for pots, clay glazes for making pots impermeable, and clay slips for making pots beautiful.

In this class, participants will learn how to locate and distinguish clays from other earthy materials, techniques used to collect and process clay, specific uses of various native clays and their roles in the production process, how to determine uses and design pots to a specific function, production techniques for functional pottery, and historical uses of pottery and materials.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $25-35, payable to workshop leader.

Woven Shibori (Int.) – Wendy Clark


Wendy Clark grew up in a house built in 1812. Old things, tradition and working with one’s hands were strong influences in her life and later, in her creative practice as an interdisciplinary artist. After receiving a degree in art from WV Wesleyan, she bought her first loom and began playing casually with weaving. Wendy has always had a love for fabrics and how the threads interlace.

After completion of a Masters of Fine Arts , the focus of Wendy’s work ranged from small pieces to large-scale installation work. In May 2012, she left behind a 29 year career of teaching art to focus entirely on weaving and is now a full-time studio artist/weaver.

Wendy and her husband purchased land near Belington, WV, and in 2010 moved into their log cabin to be full-time residents of West Virginia. Her studio is located in the bottom floor of their home where she dyes and paints the yarn, and weaves it into shawls, scarves, table linens and structural forms.

She works in fine rayon, silk, cotton, bamboo and linen. Wendy purchases natural colored yarns and dyes the yarn using fiber reactive dyes. All of her work is hand dyed. She uses both vat and ikat style dyeing techniques and designs new ways of working the colors into the yarns. Wendy weaves on two, four and sixteen harness looms in her log cabin studio.

Wendy is the recipient of the 2012 WV Culture Grant which enabled her to complete the building of her studio. Additionally, she is sponsored by the Tamarack Foundation, which has enabled her to participate in The Buyers Market of American Craft Show in Philadelphia, PA. Wendy’s work can be seen in the West Virginia galleries of Tamarack, Mountain Made, and Artists At Work, and throughout fine galleries and museum shops nationally.

Woven Shibori (Int.)

Woven Shibori is a process of weaving and resist dyeing developed by Catherine Ellis. Based on traditional Shibori, its historical roots lie in stitching into woven cloth to form a pattern known as “mokume” or wood grain. The stitching is gathered and then the piece is dyed. The resulting pattern often resembles wood grain and patterns found in the natural world. Woven shibori enables the weaver to produce the gathering threads during the weaving process. In this class, we will weave with two shuttles to form the body of our work, as well as the gathering stitches that form the resist patterns. We will set up various experiments with vat dyes and surface treatment dyes. You will leave with a couple if not several woven shibori pieces.

Prepared warps and dyes will be provided. Participants should come to class knowing how to independently weave on a four harness floor loom. Advanced beginners and beyond will find this class exciting.

Participants should bring the following items: scissors, a pencil, a notebook, a good pair of rubber or kitchen gloves, measuring tape, a bucket, three gallon-sized zip top bags, an old bath towel, and their favorite shuttles and bobbins if they prefer to use their own.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $45-65 or more, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Old-Time & Vocal Week (August 6-11)

Click the workshop title to expand for detailed workshop descriptions and instructor bios.

Felting: Traditional to Today (Beg./Int.) – Enrica McMillon

Enrica McMillon

Enrica McMillon grew up in the tiny Swiss village of Helvetia and has worked with many different forms of fiber arts since her childhood. As a felter and a spinner, Enrica has developed a deep knowledge of wool and other types of fiber. She is an active member of the Mountain Weavers’ Guild and other fiber arts organizations. Her three-dimensional felted sculptures have won awards at various art shows. A natural teacher, Enrica loves to share her knowledge and skills with anyone who is eager to learn.

Felting: Traditional to Today (Beg./Int.)

Wet felting was one of humankind’s earliest crafts. Its discovery allowed people to better clothe and shelter themselves, and through the ages it has been used to make items that were not only useful but beautiful. Needle felting is a dry method that came about in modern times. It is a wonderful medium for creating 3-dimensional sculptural works of art. With only a minimal investment in tools and materials you will learn the skills to create felted objects in a very short time. Bring scissors, a small pair of needle-nosed pliers, a 12″ x 12″ x 2″ (approximately) piece of foam, and join in the fun!

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $30 or more, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Letterpress Printing & Wood Engraving (All Levels) – Jim Horton, assisted by Sarah Brown

Jim Horton

Born in El Reno, Oklahoma, Jim Horton moved with his government family to the small town of Milan Michigan in the early 1950s. He attended Eastern Michigan University and studied studio art and earned a certificate in education. He worked for a sign company while in college, and was thus given vocational education certification as well as a BAE, and after military service, an MAE.

In the military, Jim was drafted and saved in Saigon, Vietnam, as an illustrator. He was also assigned to Nakom Phnom, Thailand, at the end of the Vietnam conflict. Upon returning to civilian life, he began teaching in the Wayne-Westland Schools. He taught at all levels, and in the last years of teaching, he taught vocational graphic design. He was selected as a WDIV Newsweek Magazine “Teacher of the Year” in 1994. He had dinner with Catherine Graham of Newsweek fame. Upon retirement, he began teaching in a private setting at Greenhills School of Ann Arbor. Altogether, Jim taught for 42 years.

During his regular teaching career, Jim continued his interest as an artist. He has always loved drawing, and this led to studying printmaking and particularly wood engraving and letterpress printing. To this day, Jim continues to teach workshops in this area of specialty. He also maintains a printing business, a private press, and a small activity as an antique dealer.

Jim regularly teaches at John C. Campbell Folk School. Most recently, he has taught classes at Signal-Return in Detroit; Wood Engravers’ Network workshops in Asheville, NC; College Station, TX; Frogman’s Print & Paper (USD, Vermilion); and at West Virginia University with the late Professor Clifford Harvey. He has taught too many workshops to list entirely, but the favorite workshop has been teaching for some 23 years at the Augusta Heritage Center of Davis & Elkins College, in Elkins, WV. Jim also has an interest in traditional music and many areas of folklife, and has attended Augusta as a participant as well.

Jim’s interest in wood engraving began by studying with David Sander, an author and artist in the Chicago area. The Sander Company was the last commercial wood engraving business in the US. Jim was able to work with David Sander, and in latter days, help him with teaching. Jim was also able to obtain many remnants of the engraving studios, and to this day he considers himself a working museum of this niche in the world of art.

Jim lives in rural Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is married to Rowena Villarias, a nurse practitioner in the field of women’s health care. They practice yoga and have one cat.

Sarah Brown

Questionable Press is printer and artist Sarah Brown, and a 1948 Heidelberg Windmill named Double D. Sarah saved D and another literal ton of letterpress equipment from the scrap yards of Phillipi, West Virginia. She was a real letterpress novice, but she combined the skills she had learned in printmaking classes at West Virginia University with hours of research and perseverance until she and D came to know each other well. With the right set up, D can pick up and print cardboard to tissue paper, and everything in between.

Sarah uses antiquated, classical methods of image production like wood engraving, wood cuts, and linoleum cuts. Basically, its like making big, very detailed stamps. She then combines these blocks with hand set letterpress type and prints them on D.

Letterpress Printing & Wood Engraving (all levels)

Letterpress printing (using metal and wood hand-set type) has its roots in centuries-old traditions yet remains viable in contemporary art and graphic design. University programs and private presses are popping up everywhere. Perhaps people are seeking deeper experiences in art than the digital world has to offer. This class will cover the basics of letterpress typography and typesetting while offering wood engraving as an illustration medium. Letterpress is the use of hand-set type that essentially dates back to Gutenberg. Wood engraving is a highly detailed process using tools called gravers that cut into hard, end-grain wood. It is unmatched for clarity and offers a great way to make multiple copies of a drawing. Putting these learned skills to work, the class will design, set, illustrate and print a limited edition broadside using a vintage printing press. The broadside might be for personal expression of perhaps a song or a poem, or it might advertise an actual event. The creative process will result in a rewarding experience and a valued edition of hand-printed material. We will cover the basics of drawing, mocking-up, using a composing stick, engraving on end-grain wood and actual editioning and signing the prints. No previous experience is necessary.

Ages 16 & up. Materials: $25, payable to workshop leader.

White Oak Basketry (All Levels) – Alan Miller

Alan Miller

Alan Miller is a retired West Virginia state forester and forest entomologist. He was inducted into the WV Agriculture & Forestry Hall of Fame in 2000. Since his retirement, Miller has continued to go to the woods for his craft and has been making white oak baskets for fifteen years. He also repairs chairs, weaves chair bottoms with hickory bark splits and hand carves wooden cooking utensils (treenware). In addition to teaching basketry at Augusta, he demonstrates regularly at the Seneca Rocks Discovery Center.

He has taught plant identification, entomology and other classes for over 50 years, including classes for the WV Wildflower Pilgrimage each spring at Blackwater Falls State Park and the Webster Springs Garden Club at Camp Caesar. He teaches at and directs the Ted Harriman Forest Industries Camp at Camp Mahonegon. He is also President of the Treasure Mountain Festival Association, organizing an annual festival in Franklin, WV, that attracts over 30,000 people each September.

White Oak Basketry (All Levels)

The class covers tree selection, log splitting and the making of stakes, splits and handles for white oak baskets. New students will learn to make a small Williamsburg and a shopper style basket. Returning or advanced students will have new projects. No previous basket making experience is necessary. The process requires some physical strength. All supplies will be provided.