John C. Campbell Folk School – If you’re looking to add a little creativity, fun and sense of community spirit to your stay in the cozy North Carolina mountains, we highly recommend the John C. Campbell Folk School. For more than 90 years, the school has been welcoming locals and visitors to learn about a vast range of different artistic endeavors. Just about every kind of visual and performance art and craft is on offer at the John C. Campbell Folk School, all in a friendly and warm environment.
We certainly think there’s something about Hayesville and the surrounding area that inspires creativity. Perhaps it’s the sight of the mountains, the fresh air or the sound of the babbling creek – whatever it is, why not channel your inspiration into creating something beautiful? The John C. Campbell Folk School will definitely help you do that!
History of the John C. Cambpell Folk School
The John C. Folk School has a long history dating back more than a century. Its namesake, John C. Campbell, was inspired by the traditional arts and handicrafts of the Appalachian mountain people. He wanted to help keep these traditions alive and also promote education through lifelong learning. John had seen folk schools in the countryside of Denmark, and how they fostered community spirit and happiness. He and his wife, Olive, discussed the idea of bringing a similar school to beautiful Appalachia. Unfortunately, the school did not happen in John’s lifetime, however Olive decided to start one in his memory. Working in collaboration with a friend, Marguerite Butler, and the local community, the John C. Campbell Folk School opened its doors in 1925. Almost a century later, the folk school is still going strong!
Classes at the Folk School
The John C. Campbell Folk School promotes learning in a non-competitive environment. This means there are no grades or complicated assignments – just a fun environment to try your hand at new things and meet new people. The school has a calendar simply brimming with short courses on a range of topics. They are generally either weekend or week-long courses, and the array of activities is nothing short of spectacular. From basket weaving to photography to woodcarving and everything in between, there’s bound to be something that takes your fancy. Best of all, people of all ages and abilities can enjoy the courses. The quality of teaching is excellent, so experienced creatives are sure to be inspired by new techniques, ideas and approaches. On the other hand, even the absolute beginner is sure to feel supported and welcomed, and go away having learned a new skill.
Events at the John C. Campbell Folk School
One of the aims of the school is to foster community spirit, so it frequently holds fun events where everyone is welcome. The calendar changes regularly so it’s best to check their websites, but these often include dances, music concerts, art auctions and various charity events as well. Like with the school, everyone is welcome and there’s no minimum or maximum age to participate! Who not see if something is on during your stay, and drop by?
Museum and Craft Shop
If you’d like to see the school but aren’t sure about doing a class or attending an event, then the museum or craft shop may be perfect! Of course, they’re also worth a visit even if you are doing a class too. The museum, or history center, is free to enter and traces the history of the folk school. There are various photographs, documents and videos of the school over the years, showing what has changed, and what has stayed the same. It’s an interesting insight into the school, and also how it has shaped the community. There’s also a fantastic craft shop on the premises, which sells some of the best examples of the crafts made at the school. Most of them are traditional Appalachian crafts, but with a modern touch. You can find everything from beautiful jewelry and homewares, to souvenir postcards and shirts from the folk school.
If you’re inspired to do some crafts at home (or perhaps back in your cabin or cottage!) then you can also pick up some high-quality art and craft supplies. It’s definitely a great place to find a beautiful souvenir of your stay in our little corner of the mountains.