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21 August 2007

JSU Field Schools Collaborate with Alabama Folk School to Promote Environmental Arts

Have you ever desired to learn to play a dulcimer? Make your own dulcimer? Cane your own chair? Weave your own scarf? Make your own soap and candles? Learn to tell your own stories? Develop journaling skills?


Did you ever (and this might date some of us) read a Foxfire Book and think, “How cool would it be to go there and do those wonderful things?” If so…your dreams have come true!


On the other hand, you may have folk art skills that you would like to share with others as an instructor. Here is your chance to do so.


Camp McDowell Environmental Center (Nauvoo, AL) has partnered with JSU Field Schools to promote and develop environmental education and arts programs for many years. Recently, McDowell developed the Alabama Folk School (AFS) which will be offering week and weekend courses on diverse folk art topics.  


JSU Field Schools Renee Morrison has been selected to serve on the Advisory Board of this exciting new organization. She will be partnering with many other talented environmental artists to assist with the creation of unique programs and to promote the cultural preservation of Southeastern arts. JSU Field Schools will be offering cultural arts programs at their new Little River Canyon Center when it opens in the spring of 2009. They will be partnering with AFS (and many other artists and arts organizations) to develop state-wide artist-in-residence programs, workshops, and “Living Arts” demonstrations.


Renee (aka Midnight the Hound Dog, Lady Cordelia Birdspeak, Granny Dollar, Dr. Darling, and so many others) will also be providing her skills as a storyteller and creative dramatist to teach future programs for AFS and for the Little River Canyon Center. She would like to encourage all who are interested in AFS to visit the website at or to contact the director, Megan Huston, at 205-387-1806 or email .

Sample Programs

December 7-9, 2007

Soap/Candle Making: “Creating Herbal Cold-Process Soaps & Hand Dipped Candles”
Cheryl Patton

Course Description:
Individuals will learn how to safely make herbal soaps using sodium hydroxide, essential oils and natural colorants. Students will also experience traditional hand-dipped beeswax candle making as a group activity. Each student will make enough soaps to take home for personal use or unique gifts & and pair of candles.

Extra supplies fee:$10

Registration:  Weekend: $250 per person if double occupancy; $300 per person if single occupancy (covers lodging, meals and entertainment)


December 7-9, 2007


Writing/Journaling: “Playing Our Stories; Writing Our Lives”
Jean Martinolich

Course Description:
If “getting serious” about writing hasn’t helped to accomplish the goal of writing your story, perhaps “getting playful” will. Bring your creativity to life and have fun writing. Play, hum, dance, draw or move your way through the story. Even the painful or dark parts of a story can be unlocked through playful activities. In this playshop, no talent is necessary. No courage required. All levels of experience welcome. This class is well suited for writing memoir and the personal essay, but those writing short story, any form of fiction, or poetry will benefit as well and will be accommodated. Even though this playshop involves mild physical activity, the activities can be modified easily for those with mobility challenges.

Extra supplies fee: $0, but there will be a few items to bring from home.

Registration:  Weekend: $250 per person if double occupancy; $300 per person if single occupancy (covers lodging, meals and entertainment)


Other upcoming programs: antique restoration, basketry, beads, blacksmithing, book arts, broom making, calligraphy, clay, cooking, dance, drawing, dolls, bears, sculpture, enameling, glass, kaleidoscopes, mosaics, music, nature studies, wood carving, wood turning…and more!

For your convenience, a Registration Form is attached.

Sample Folk Art Skills
DeSoto Fiber Guild Demonstrators
at 2007 Mountain Longleaf Festival

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