Archive for the ‘Folk’ Category

I woke up this morning to find that my boat models had been featured on the WoodenBoat Magazine’s Facebook page.  This magazine has been my obsession since my dad picked up a copy of Issue #2 during a stop at L.L. Bean. (Back when it was still over the factory.)

I’ve uploaded more images here.  The steamer is a work in progress.


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Proud Papa

My daughter, Hannah Davis, is a folklore student at IU and an intern with Traditional Arts Indiana (an organization near and dear to my heart). This summer she is serving as an intern for the Hungarian Heritage Project, a part of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.

I’ve been following the festival’s website and found and interesting article. It wasn’t until the second read that I noticed that Hannah was one of the writers! I’m kind of beaming with folky pride this morning.

Read her article here.


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I’m still gathering information about Pennsylvanina Dutch fraktur.  Today I browsed Etsy to see what was being offered by other contemporary artists.  Click photos to visit Etsy sites.  I will begin to offer mine on Etsy some time next week.

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I’m on spring break and am looking at two great shows in the next four weeks.  That means I’m busy making stuff.

These are really rough photos of works in progress — but nearly completed.  Look for these pieces at the Bloomington Handmade Market and/or Indiana Artisan Marketplace.








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Thomas Richardson, folklorist and ethnomusicologist at Indiana University, has been following me around and showing quite a bit of interest in my work with 50 Little Birds.  I’m not sure how he’s framing it (I’ve a bit of an idea) or his angle, but he’s been taking pictures and asking questions as I go about my work.  This is a great experience for me.  I love to talk about what I do and our discussions are helping me to articulate the themes, thoughts and processes that are 50 Little Birds.

He shared some photos that he took at the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange Mini held in Irvington, east side Indianapolis, October 30th.

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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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Pete Seeger is featured in today’s NY Times.

There are important things needing to be done in every community.” How can people be brought together to do these important things? I’ve tried with banjos and boats.

The focus of the article is about Peter’s daily routine at age 90.  Usually a  report about the daily routine of nonagenarian wouldn’t be too interesting, but this is Pete Seeger.  There is much to be learned from his purposeful life.

Read the entire article here.

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