Archive for the ‘Building and Arts Community’ Category

I teach 5th and 6th grade.  I’ve spent this weekend in meetings and preparing for my students.  I’ve been working hard to  make the most of my few days of summer.  When I had an opportunity to head home an hour earlier than expected I detoured to Lapel to make a long overdue visit to the shop of Greg Adams.

I made a brief entry last week when Greg presented me with my recent Indianapolis Monthly feature nicely framed in his trademark rustic picture frame.

I’ve been  aware of Greg’s work for years but we didn’t connect until we were both named Indiana Artisans late last year.  We later spent a weekend together at Marsh Madness in Linton.  He surprised me last week by dropping in for a few moments at the Gathering at Garst in Greenville, Ohio.

(I didn’t realize until I was doing some Googlin’ for this piece that Greg and I both participated in a Traditional Arts Indiana initiative several years ago.  I’m surprised we didn’t meet then.)

I sat and talked with Greg for just a few moments before John Bundy pulled up in front of the shop.  John spent the weekend with us in Linton.  Bundy Decoys are beautifully carved and finished and can be found in shops and galleries across the country.  John is a character and once he arrived we sat back and listened to his stories.  They are colorful and sometimes not fit to print.


I realized that we were experiencing something akin to the gentlemen that once hung around the Corner Drug Store in Noblesville, or the Liar’s Bench in Nashville or one of a million general stores, barbershops and taverns across this country.

It wasn’t long before we all parted ways to head home to family, a little better for some quality time shooting the breeze.


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I’ve been director of Blue Stone Folk School since it’s founding 4 years ago. As the founder, I’ve been thinking about folk schools long before that. The most difficult part of my job isn’t teaching, programing, research or dealing with the money (I HATE that part and leave it to others).

The most difficult part of my job is answering two simple questions:

  • What is a folk school?
  • What do you teach at a folk school?

I can answer these questions, better than most can, but the problem is that the concept is so far outside most folks circle of knowledge that they loose interest before they’re hooked. The trick comes with the second question. If you can guess what discipline excites them and use that as an example they are hooked.

I thought after 4 years that this would become simpler. It has not.

The good folks at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress have provided some insight. They evidently have the same problem — now I feel a bit better — and have published a webpage to explain the term folklife.

It’s not a big jump from understanding folklife to understanding what we do. We teach folklife and about folklife. It’s that simple.

(BTW- My spell checker is rejecting the word folklife. I guess the Library of Congress is making up words again!)

Read the page. It’s thorough. It’s clear. It’s a little bit fun. In fact it would make a great t-shirt.

(BTW[again]) In the photo, way up top, I’m not explaining anything. I’m talking to Thomas Richardson a folklore and ethnomusicology graduate student at I.U. and good friend. (evidently ethnomusicology isn’t a word either. Sorry Thomas (and Hannah).

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Activities at Celebrating the Handmade Tradition, Blue Stone Folk School, Saturday September 18.

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Tom Park Trout Flies

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

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Support the Folk School

You’ve asked for it. Introducing new-and-improved Folk School memberships. Membership has it’s benefits, but we know that you want to join to show your support for preserving traditional culture in Noblesville and Central Indiana.

* $10 Student Member – Buy Now With Paypal
* $25 Individual Member – Buy Now With Paypal
* $50 Family Member – Buy Now With Paypal
* $75 Supporting Member – Buy Now With Paypal
* $100 Sustaining Member – Buy Now With Paypal
* $500 Life Member – Buy Now With Paypal

Full benefits will be extended to all members and include (but are not limited to):

* A Dandy Membership Card Printed in Our Own Studios
* Promotional Stickers, Buttons and Notebooks
* Invitations to Special Events
* Class Discounts (Up to 100% of Membership Dues)
* A Membership Directory Each January
* The Knowledge That You Are Supporting Your Community

Memberships will run from October until the following October. Join now and you will not have to renew until October of 2011!

Your contributions will provide the means for the Folk School to sustain programing, purchase tools and equipment and maintain the high level of service that we strive to bring you.

Make Checks Payable to Blue Stone Folk School and send with name, address, phone number, email address and level of membership to:

Emily Vance, Treasurer
6789 Passage Circle
Indianapolis, IN 46250

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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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Blue Stone Folk School is partnering with Noblesville Preservation Alliance and the Hamilton County Convention and Visitors Bureau to explore possibilities to offer programing within the historic Judge Stone House.  This partnership begins Monday when we host Meat ‘n Tators Ukulele Construction Class.  During this week long class students from as far away as Boston will learn to build a soprano ukulele.

There are plans to explore keeping the woodshop in place to offer further programing which may include Shaker Boxmaking, woodcarving, and luthiery (instrument building) projects.  Further programing possibilities will focus on stabilization and restoration of the house.  These classes would focus on rebuilding historic windows and sash, door frames, interior woodwork, wood floors, etc.

We continue to be excited about our current space within the cellars of the historic Craycraft House.  It has always been our intention to find, develop and use under utilized spaces throughout Noblesville.  We will seek ways that these spaces can work together to provide a variety of unique traditional programing.

Over the next week, or so, this space will explore the house, its condition, its potential and our progress building ukuleles.

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