Posts Tagged ‘Blue Stone Folk School’

Pokey (Not Geoff)

Indianapolis’ wonderful arts and culture weekly, NUVO, covered Pokey LaFarge and the South City Three at a recent Blue Stone Folk School concert.  It’s a great review of an even greater concert.

I was asked to play a short warm up set a couple of hours before the gig.  I was under prepared but things went fine.  I never gave a thought to NUVO reporter Scott Shoger being in the house or giving me a mention.

Read the article here.

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Tom Park Trout Flies

You can review our email invite with photos of artwork here.

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I’ve begun to gear up for fall and winter shows.  You can visit with me and 50 Little Birds at two Indieana Handicraft Exchange Mini shows (October 1 and 30) anf the Bloomington Handmade Market (November 6).  I’ll hear about another show, or two, in the next week.  I also have work at Homespun, on the Indianapolis eastside, on Etsy and at the Folk School in Noblesville.

I’ve loved crows for much of my life.  I’ve written about my love of crows before.  My fondness for corvids is rooted in my childhood summers in Maine.  The crows in the forests or on the clamflats around our home were often the first sounds I heard as I was awakening.

Animal collective nouns are great fun.  What’s cooler than a “wisdom of owls” or a “crash of rhinos”?  A group of crows or ravens is a murder.  Lately I’ve been planning a series of murders.

The first appears above in a very informal shot on my workbench.  The challenge on this piece was to create five individual birds with a consistent look and feel, but individual personalities.  I’m quite pleased, especially with a few new poses.  The base includes half a croquet ball that I picked up in Blomington (Did you know that wooden croquet balls aren’t?  There made of a wood dust composite.).

More murders are in the works.  I picked up an old instrument case.  It will house “A Murder Case”.

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With the bumped up programing and the use of the Judge Stone House we’ve renewed our efforts to communicate with our supporter with regular email newsletters.

We’ve added a service to our emails that allows folks to access emails.  We’re still working on the home page for this but individual links are active.

The two emails sent this wek can be found here:

July 30

July 27

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Class Title:  Felting for Kids (And Other Interested Folks)
Instructor:  Joni Back-Bubenzer
Cost:  $65 including materials,  additional materials available for $10
Date and Time:  Tuesday, August 3 – Thursday, August 5, 10:00 – 12:30
Location:  Judge Stone House – General Studio, 107 S. 8th Street,  Noblesville, Indiana
Registration:  Call (317) 331-0972 or email missjoni@bluestonefolkschool.org.  You will receive a confirmation call or email.

Ability level:  Ages 8 and up, including adults

Class Description:

Felt is one of the earliest known fabrics. It is durable and nearly indestructible. Plenty of folks know that you can “felt” an all-wool sweater by tossing it into the dryer, and that you can purchase those rectangular synthetic felt pieces at a crafts store. But, making your own felt from sheep’s wool, or roving, provides limitless creative possibilities.
In this class, students will explore simple water felting and needle felting techniques. They will fashion water felted beads into stylish jewelry and create some adorable needle felted critters. As time permits, additional projects may be explored.
This class is open for anyone ages 8 and up. Parents should be aware that needle felting involves use of a very sharp needle; students’ fine motor abilities should be considered. Parents with at least one child enrolled are welcome to join the class for an additional charge of $10 for materials.
Please send a small, healthy snack and a bottle of water with your child.

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Miss Joni, a Folk School students, NUVO writer and local cheerleading mom, has taken up the pen to write a monthly NUVO Blog about the ukulele.  Hurray for Miss Joni!

All Things Ukulele: Summer of uke

If every month could be like the month of June, this writer is pretty sure Ukuleles could change the world.

By the time I moved to Noblesville with my family three years ago, I was pretty sure I’d already morphed from a gallery-hopping Indianapolis socialite to a rarely-goes-anywhere-without-her-kids-gee-when’s-the-last-time-she-colored-her-hair-type Mom. I thought that the move to the suburbs of Hamilton County signified the final nail in the coffin of my formerly-fabulous life. But, fast forward one year, and there’s me—kids in tow, of course—sitting cross-legged on the floor of The Wild, clutching a cheap ukulele in my nervous hands, learning my very first chords from the Blue Stone Folk School’s Geoff Davis. And that was the beginning of a new passion and perspective in the life of Miss Joni.

Read more here.

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W.S. Blatchley - Indiana Naturalist

A few months ago I was asked to speak for the Blatchley Nature Study Club in Noblesville, Indiana.  This is an old school nature club founded in 1922 in response to a stong interest to study and learn about birds.

I’ve never visited the club, but I’ve been intrigued by its existence for several years.  The club has a small clubhouse on a parcel of wooded bottom-land along White River.  Legend (That’s almost the right word) reports that their parcel is rich in bird activity and the clubhouse shelters an amazing collections of natural history artifacts.  I’m intrigued.   More importantly I’m humbled and honored.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach this public discussion.  I’m knowledgeable aboout my subject matter, but not in the manner that serious birders are.  I’ve pondered this a bit and have decided that that is no problem.  I know birds as a vernacular artist and naturalist.  There are no apologies to make for not having a lengthy life-list or identifying obscure warblers by call alone.  These folks are coming to hear the vernacular artist/naturalist and we will learn from one another.

I have written that every bird carved has a personal connection to my life (even the non-bird narwhal).  Most of these stories are not earth shattering or terribly unusual, but the accumulation of a life-time of being conscience of the birds around me has some value.

Just yesterday I shared an tidbit with a new facebok friend.  Her status was about chimney swifts.  I related that, as a child, we had swifts in our chimney.  I remember them singing while I practiced tromone below them.  I also remember looking up the chimney and seeing tails sticking out from the nests platered on the sided of the chimney.

I’ll never forget the time I pulled a small row boat through the brush along the coast of Maine.  Within a tiny sheltered cove (The entire boat didn’t even fit) I came across a black crowned night heron frozen in fear.  I’d never seen a bird like it.  The next day I asked an elderly neighbor about it and he produced a picture in his Peterson Field Guide.  I was eleven or twelve.

(Funny …  I’ve never carved a chimney swift or a black crowned night heron.)

Through these stories I will share my motivation, technique, influences and experiences developing a body of work around my birds.

Come and talk. It’ll be great, it’s free and there will be snacks!

Thursday, May 27

7:30 p.m.

Blatchey Nature Study Club

125 Boulder Drive (Near Potter’s Bridge)

Noblesville, Indiana

Blatchely Program and Contact Information

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Local author and Folk School friend, Larry Sweazy, invited the School to join him for a book fair at our local Barnes and Noble.  Larry was scheduled for a book signing.  We arranged the day.  Larry pledged 10% of his book sales and the store offered 10% of their sales when accompanied by the appropriate voucher.  (BTW- This still applies until Friday.  It’s not to late to help us out.  Print out the voucher on the left.  It works on the website, too.)

Last Saturday, April 17, was the day and we had a great time sharing our resources and activities with the community.

We’re not sure how much money was raised, but we do know that the crowd was larger than expected.  We’re working on another for October.

A few photos:

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I wrote before about setting a goal to fit my entire show set-up into three bags.  I almost did it.  I’ve three bags and a handful of odds and ends.  It won’t be a problem for this weekend.  I’ve 3 or 4 family members (depending on whether oldest daughter hangs out with us or Bloomington friends)  and a borrowed van (Thanks Wilbur!).

In order to make sure that I had everything that I needed and to anticipate problems I set up much of my table on the front porch.  Unlike many artists I like to work in front of the booth.  I need the vertical room for hanging pieces and I want there to be no barriers between myself and buyers.  I hate (a word I seldom use) artists that sit behind their booths and ignore their potential customers.  This is a rare chance to meet and talk to these folks about what they like and they want to see next time.  Folks buy at shows because they’ve met the artist, by golly!

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My work was just accepted into the Bloomington Handmade Market to be held on April 3.  It’s a good thing as I spent much of the late winter building inventory for this show!
The ladies running this show plan to publish interviews with artists over the three weeks leading to the show.  They sent a list of questions.  I submitted them this morning and they are copied below.

Name: Geoff Davis

Business Name: 50 Little Birds

Location: Noblesville, IN

What do you make?

I carve and paint small Indiana songbird sculptures.  I deviate from this a bit and also offer bentwood boxes, Fraktur (Pennsylvania Dutch Illuminated Painting) and an occasional carved and painted penguin or narwhal.

In Bloomington I will be offering bentwood Easter baskets.  I won’t have many, so please let me know if you are interested.

How did you learn your art/craft?

I grew up in a household where creating things was encouraged and knowledge came from tinkering and exploration.  My mother is was an artist and both parents were woodworkers.  Tools, supplies and creative role models were always at hand.  Over the years I’ve learned to design and build useful things from wood including boats and furniture.  It was when I was training to build ukuleles in Hawai’i that I realized that I had knack for carving wood.  50 Little Birds began last year as an effort to raise money for Blue Stone Folk School, a traditional arts program in Noblesville, Indiana.  I have donated 50 painted and carved birds to the school.  The sale of these birds has raised over $1500 so far.  Some of these 50 birds are still in my inventory. A portion of the sale of all of my work continues to go towards the Folk School and it’s programs.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

To be honest my wife is my muse.  I carve every bird to impress and delight her.  Sometimes it works!

I began to carve birds in an attempt to re-connect with my own ethnic heritage. Many of my projects, kayak, canoe and ukulele building, are so connected with specific ethnic traditions that were not my own.  My people, the Pennsylvania Dutch (actually German) were fascinated with bird imagery.  There was a tradition of itinerant carvers producing beautiful and colorful birds throughout SW Pennsylvania.

The birds are also an inspiration.  I wake every morning to songbirds and crows.  At night nighthawks circle my neighborhood.  We all observe bird behaviors as we go through our day.  I find that most folks have a bird or two that they consider to be their own.  It’s a joy to work with themes that run throughout everyone’s experience and make a strong and personal connection all people.

Do you have a “real world” job?

I teach 5th and 6th grade at the Key Learning Community, an Indianapolis Public School.  I’m also the founder and Director of Blue Stone Folk School in Noblesville.

Your five favorite things (can be anything!):

1 – My Family
2 – Crows in the Morning
3 – Long Solo Canoe Paddles
4 – Really Good Food
5 – Exploring

Who are your favorite artists/crafters?

The great Pennsylvania Dutch bird carvers:  Wilhelm Schimmel, George Stapf and “Schtockschnitzler” Simmons.

Charles Hart, a Cape Cod carver of penguins

William Coperthwaite, a philosopher, educator and hand-crafter in Maine

Where can we find you?


Blue Stone Folk School, Noblesville

INDIEana Handicraft Exchange (I hope to be at the June show!)

They also request 3 images.  I sent these…

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