Amidst a resurgence of interest in everything from knitting and baking to blacksmithing, Heritage NL is hosting an online discussion about how folk schools in other parts of the world teach those kinds of traditional skills. “Folk Schools and Crafts Education” is scheduled for the evening of April 28th, and attendees are encouraged to think about how the folk school model might be applied in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Over the past 20 years, a growing interest in the folk school model and creative education has contributed to supporting, encouraging, and revitalizing craft and handmade skills,” says Dr. Kelley Totten, Assistant Professor of Folklore at Memorial University, one of three panelists participating in the session. Totten has been a student and employee of folk schools in the United States, wrote a dissertation about folk schools, and is currently expanding that research to look at folk schools in Canada.
The other two panelists are currently working at folk schools in the US. Jessa Frost is Program Director at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota, where they teach a range of skills including timber framing, outdoors skills, art and traditional crafts like leatherworking, tinsmithing, soap-making, net-making and basketry. And Martha Owen is a Resident Artist at John C Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, North Carolina who specializes in everything related to wool, from keeping her own flock of sheep to spinning, knitting, dyeing and feltmaking.
"Traditional skills and crafts are at the heart of Newfoundland and Labrador's heritage," says Heritage NL folklorist Dale Jarvis. "We are very excited to host this session to share ideas on how we can continue to nurture those skills for the next generation.”
Folk Schools and Crafts Education will be hosted on Zoom at 7pm on April 28, 2021 and is open to anyone with an interest in learning about the folk schools model or supporting local crafts traditions and skills training. It’s free but registration is required and details are on Heritage NL’s website and Facebook page or you can register directly at www.heritagecraft.ca.