Family time shared at Folk School
Brasstown – Several years ago, Rosalie Haizlett got to visit a school of craft in Pennsylvania and knew she wanted to take a class at a similar school. She looked for a school that offered more than just classes, since she had already studied art in college.
When she found John C. Campbell Folk School, she saw nothing but good things about it and was intrigued by the intergenerational experiences it provides.
Haizlett, an illustrator, got a professional grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture & History and a scholarship from the folk school, and signed up to take shibori dyeing and woodturning.
“They are really different mediums than what I’m used to,” Haizlett said. “I think the more skills you have in your creative arsenal, the better.”
Her father, Jim, is an associate professor of art at West Liberty University who wanted to try blacksmithing for a long time. An opening was available the first week his daughter would be at the folk school, and since he was on a sabbatical he decided it would be nice to take the class and make the 10-hour trip from West Virginia to Brasstown with his daughter.
“We thought it would be a fun bonding experience,” she said.
Keather Gougler, the folk school’s marketing and communications director, said family members taking classes simultaneously is common.
In fact, there’s a set of four sisters, as well as a mother and father and their two adult children, who visit every year.
“It’s a great way for them to share family time,” she said.
Gougler said with the school offering more than 50 subjects for classes, it’s easy for each person in a family to find something they are interested in.
“A lot of people tell us we’re a common ground for them to gather,” she said.
The Haizletts have enjoyed gathering for meals, sharing what they’ve learned and how they plan to use their new skills in the future. Rosalie Haizlett wants to use the shibori dyeing skills to make dyes from plants at her home, while Jim Haizlett would like to share what he’s learned with students in his sculpture classes.
“I’m very happy with what I’ve learned,” Jim Haizlett said.
He said it wasn’t hard taking the role of student because his instructor, Mark Hopper, was extremely skilled.
“It’s a jump to go from teaching for 20 years to being a student, but it was so
well done it was no problem,” Jim Haizlett said.
The Haizletts said the scenery in Brasstown reminded them a lot of where they live in West Virginia.
“But we don’t have a folk school,” Rosalie Haizlett said with a smile.