September 11-13, 2015

Beginning Metal Casting
Lee McKee

Have you ever shaped molten hot metal? In this metal casting sampler class you'll learn the process of this time-honored art from beginning to end! We'll cover the basics of direct carving a one-piece mold, heating our metal until it is molten, and pouring it into our prepared molds. Safety in the foundry, basic chasing, and finishing of molds will also be covered. Please wear closed-toe leather boots (steel toe leather boots are best) as well as cotton pants, a long sleeve cotton shirt, and bring a cotton bandana or welding hat. Bring your creativity and expect to take home a finished piece cast from recycled aluminum, along with the foundation to move forward into more complex mold-making processes and, we think, a newfound love of metal casting!

Class Level: Beginner

Lee McKee Has been a metal artist for as long as he can remember. He attended the University of Southern Mississippi School of Fine Arts where he was trained in sculpture with a focus on metal arts. While working with an Art teaching non-profit, Lee became an apprentice of Master Blacksmith James Whatley and after years of work began to help in the teaching of new students. Today Lee is an instructor at Tannehill Forge School of Blacksmithing and a proud member of the Alabama Forge Council. Lee’s work can be seen all over the World in private collections and in many public commissions around the South East.

Ribbed Antler Basket Duo
Mary Ann Smith

Make a stunning basket using an antler as the base. We'll weave with reed, jute, vines, fiber, sea grass and whatever else strikes our fancy. Combine textures and colors for a unique and beautiful basket. As a bonus, we'll weave an antler tip basket necklace!

Class Level: Combination

Following an apprenticeship sponsored by the Alabama State Council on the Arts, Mary Ann Smith has been weaving split oak and other baskets for over 20 years. She and her husband also teach at Arrowmont and John C. Campbell Folk School. Their work is included in museum collections in Alabama and Arkansas. Mary Ann is a member of N.B.O and N.C.B.A.

Guitar: Fingerpicking Blues & Rags
Mary Flower

Mary will explore left and right hand moves that drive this great feel good, Piedmont guitar style. She might share the music of Rev. Gary Davis,  Tampa Red and a little of her own music. She will explore syncopation, movable chords and alternating thumb. Students will come away with a many new tunes and as well as tools to apply to their own arrangements.

Class Level: Intermediate

Mary Flower’s immense fingerpicking guitar and lap-slide prowess is soulful and meter-perfect, a deft blend of the inventive, the dexterous and the mesmerizing. Her supple honey-and-whiskey voice provides the perfect melodic accompaniment to each song’s story.

An internationally known and award-winning picker, singer/songwriter and teacher, the Midwest native relocated from Denver to the vibrant Portland, Oregon, music scene in in 2004. She continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals and concert stages domestically and abroad, ones that include Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, Prairie Home Companion and the Calgary Folk Festival, among many.

A finalist in 2000 and 2002 at the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship (Top 3 both years, and the only woman), a nominee in 2008 and 2012 for a Blues Foundation Blues Music Award, and a 2011 Portland Muddy Award winner, Flower embodies a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic-blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz.

Flower’s 10 recordings, including her last four for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records — Bywater Dance, Instrumental Breakdown, Bridges and Misery Loves Company — show a deep command of and love for folk and blues string music. For Flower, it’s never about re-creation. Her dedication to the art form is a vital contribution to America’s music.

Guitar II, Open Your Minds with Open Tuning
Jim Ohlschmidt

Open tunings, or tuning your guitar strings to a chord, opens a world of great tunes and harmonic opportunities to all acoustic guitarists. Open tunings are as old as the hills and are used the world over, and they can become a very satisfying part of your repertoire. In this class we will explore two common open tunings, Open G, and Open D. A less common but absolutely wonderful tuning we will also explore is Dropped C (that’s not a typo). Several tunes in each open tuning mentioned above will be provided in tablature, and we will also listen to recordings of how these tunings have been used. Open tunings work great on 12-string guitars, too!

Class Level: Intermediate

“Lost Jim” Ohlschmidt has been a featured finger style guitar instructor at Alabama Folk School, and has considerable teaching experience both with private students and as an adjunct Professor of Guitar Studies at Lakeland College (Plymouth, Wisconsin) from 2010-2012. Jim’s compositions have also been featured in Craig Dobbins’ Acoustic Guitar Workshop and Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine, and he has recorded extensively as solo artist and as a sideman. Jim currently has three CDs of original instrumental guitar music, and is currently working on a fourth album of his own guitar pieces. 

Indigo Dying
Jane Timberlake Cooper

Indigo is the legendary source of colorfast blues, and its ability to produce a wide range of shades has made it the most successful dye plant ever known. This weekend course will focus on learning about the history of indigo and how to create an organic indigo vat. Once we learn how to create an indigo vat using the most natural elements- indigo, fructose, and lime, we will be spend the weekend using it to dye textiles. Learn to create your own patterns by using the Japanese method of shibori. Students are encouraged to bring their own fabrics to dye, though some fabric will be provided by the instructor.

Class Level: Beginner

Jane Timberlake Cooper has studied natural dyes with Catherine Ellis at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and Yoshiko Wada, author of Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now.

Rocking Bethany: Stacked Rock Wall Construction
Scears Barnes

In this class, you will learn how to landscape with stacked rock walls. The class will construct a stacked rock wall at Bethany Village, Camp McDowell's newly expanded site.

Class Level: Beginner to Intermediate

Scears Barnes is a practicing attorney in Alexander City, Alabama. He has been a volunteer worker at Camp McDowell for 25 years and has been building and laying stonewalls for just as long.