Archive for the ‘Folk School Happenings’ Category

I began to write this blog in May of 2009.  The focus, then, was on Blue Stone Folk School.  I began a bird carving project to raise money for the school.  this project, 50 Little Birds for Blue Stone Folk School (Later simply 50 Little Birds), grew to replace the Folk School as the focus of this blog.

Since that day in May, 2009, I’ve written and posted 345 posts that have been visited almost 25,000 times.  Small potatoes for some blogs, but we’ve quite a loyal following!

Here I present my top 10 posts ranked by visits:

1)  Another Family Tradition – Fraktur and Pennsylvania Dutch Decorative Arts –

Here I discuss my mother’s work with Pennsylvania Dutch decorative painting and its influence on my work.  I visit this theme recently when making Christmas ornaments.  It’s pretty apparent that there are folks wanting to know more about Fraktur.

2) Why I Carve Little Birds

Just what the title suggests.  I reference some Pennsylvania Dutch carvers that I find significant and influential.  Again the Pennsylvania Dutch theme plays strong.

3) Cape Forge – Bird Carving Knife

I firmly believe that I use one of the finest caving knives available.  Many carvers are all about the search for tools (Not me, I carve with two knives — both from Cape Forge.)

4) Build a Ukulele with Me!

My ever popular ukulele building class.

5) Berea, Kentucky is the Real Deal

Berea is a magical place to  explore creative handwork and a culture embracing it

6) Preparing for Bloomington Handmade Market

I used this article to address show preparation during an Etsy forum discussion about setting up and merchandising for shows.  It generated some great discussion.

7) BBW-Underside-of-tail

I mislabeled a photo of  the tail of a black and white warbler.  It should have been BWW-Underside-of-tail.  I learned afterward that BBW means big beautiful woman to folks trolling for porn. This gets a hit almost daily and I continue to chuckle at the disappointment these men must feel. I wrote about it here.

8) Bloomington Handmade Market

A popular show and also discussed on the Etsy forum.

9) Carving Little Birds – An Introduction to Whittling.

This is why I started the Folk School.  Folks are looking for instruction and want to make things — birds, ukuleles — whatever.  DIY is hot!

10) Meat ‘n Taters Ukulele Construction


I’m a bit curious about what this data means.  Is Fraktur really that popular or does it get hits because it was posted fairly long ago?  I sure there is meaning to  be derived from this.  Please feel free to post away.


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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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I love Hoagy Carmichael! He’s the ultimate jazz man, the original singer songwriter and raised 100% Hoosier.

A few weeks ago I learned of someone that was making an effort to record every song the Beatles had recorded. I joked with a friend, on facebook, that I doubt there would be much interest in a similar project focusing on the works of Hoagy.  She agreed that there may not be much interest.  Much to my surprise a number of folks, many of whom I didn’t know, chimed in that they would love to see such a project.


I am announcing the “Everything Hoagy” event planned for Blue Stone Folk School in November (Hoagy’s birthday is November 22).

I will be hosting a concert featuring the great work of Hoagy Carmichael.  I’ve not had an opportunity to perform, in a concert setting, fora very long time and am excited about putting this together.  In addition to myself I will be invited some expected (and unexpected) guests to make the evening interesting.

Other Hoagy themed activities are also in the works including a bus/car/walking tour of Hoagy’s Indianapolis.

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We’re taking baby steps here.  We’re in a borrowed space until the first of the year.  Until then we want to maximize use of our facilities and send a clear message that there is a need for the services that we provide.

We’ve toyed with providing our facilities to our students for their own use.  It’s the next ogicl step after a class to allow students to explore on their own.  It’s a rare student that leaves a luthiery class and goes home to their well stocked luthier ready woodshop.  When folks take a letterpress class, they want to have an opportunity to spend hours exploring on their own.

We want to be able to provide for this and plan to, in a small way, during the next few months.

Here’s the deal…

On selected Saturday mornings we will open the woodshop from 9:00 am until 12:00 pm.  I’ll post these dates as soon as they are determined.

There are two or three restrictions to this service:

  • Folks attending open studio must have taken a Folk School class or go through an orientation of safety, tools, policies and techniques.
  • Participants will need to read and complete a safety checklist and liability waiver.  We will keep these on file.
  • Participants must be  member of the Folk School.  We can take care of that when you arrive.
  • Folks that use the studio are encouraged to make a reservation so that we can have appropriate molds, jigs, fixtures or steam /heat generators/side benders in place.  With enough lead time we will be able to provide prepared materials for instrument building, carving projects and shaker boxes.

There will be someone supervising the shop during open studio.  Their role is to supervise, collect fees, check paperwork and advise.  They are not there to  instruct.

Most of our large tools are borrowed or donated.  They are adequate for our purposes.  They are not the newest or highest quality.  We have what we have.

If this works out (and it will) we will explore offering open studios for letterpress and bookarts.

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Much to my dismay I discovered that I had never shot photos of my wife and daughter making applesauce at Celebrating the Handmade Tradition. The ladies outdid themselves making different applesauce blends using a variety of heirloom apples picked from Indiana’s own Wild’s Apple Farm.

Steven Furlough and the Noblesville Daily Times picked up where I left off and featured the ladies on the front page of today’s paper!

Read the entire 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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New Class Offering!

Class Title: Beginner and Intermediate Ukulele Workshop

Instructor: Geoff Davis Cost: $60 ($15 week) including materials

Date and Time: Six Wednesdays beginning August 18 and ending September 22, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

Location: Judge Stone House – Back Studio, 107 S. 8th Street, Noblesville, Indiana

Registration: Call (317) 565-7132 and leave a message. You will receive a confirmation call.

Class Limit: 6 Students

This class is offered due to public demand. Geoff Davis began the Folk School with Ukulele classes and is thrilled to be able to offer this unique workshop. Students will be informally assessed to determine ability level and playing goals. Geoff will provide materials, practice and instruction to help you achieve these goals. The dynamics of group interaction will assure an ongoing dialog about playing and performing and provide opportunities to safely perform and demonstrate new skills. Each student will enjoy the benefits of private instruction with the joy of playing within a group!

Students will be required to have their own ukulele. For advice about purchasing a new ukulele please contact missjoni@bluestonefolkschool.org. Miss Joni organizes and facilitates the blue Stone Ukulele Society and has experience with many student level ukuleles.

For more information about current Folk School programing read this week’s newsletter.

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