Campbell Folk School
I'm back from my weekend of summer camp in beautiful western North Carolina.
I'm wondering why I came back.
There: sunny and 65 degrees.
Here: Snow, rain, sleet, ice and 20 degrees.
There: somebody else cooked and cleaned up.
Here: I'm cooking, and worse than that, I have to clean up, too.
Again, somebody explain why I came back????
The John C. Campbell Folk School has a friend for life in me. A wonderful setting, great people, and the exciting craft subject of spinning wool into yarn.
I made actual yarn.
Those of you who know yarn, don't look too closely. It's thick enough that I can use it to anchor large ships out at sea, but it's my first yarn and I like it. It has that real "homespun" look to it. Let's pretend that's the look I was going for.
Lorri Helms, our instructor, showed us how to ply yarn. This came to me much quicker than spinning. Maybe I should hire myself out as a professional plyer. Surely there's big bucks in that!
Lorri also showed us how to use the drum carder, turning cleaned, washed fiber into roving.
One word of advice: Watch Your Fingers!! The teeth on this machine are not afraid to bite.
On our last day at camp, we had "Show-N-Tell" from all the crafts that were being taught that weekend. After seeing the work of the others, I think I am an underachiever.
The wood turning class turned out bowls like this in a weekend. Just think, in one weekend they went from never having turned a piece of wood in their lives to this. That's amazing to me.
The basket people did it, too.
As did the woodcarvers.
All of these were beginning classes. Not classes for people who've done this before. I can't imagine going from a piece of plain old wood to a carved face in one weekend. Maybe I could do it if they allowed for abstract art and thought stick figures were really cool!
The potters were there the entire week. I don't feel so bad about their skills. After all, they had seven whole days to create these pieces. I'm sure I could do this in seven days.
Honest. Would I lie to you?!
I never went to summer camp as a kid. But that doesn't mean I couldn't go as an adult.
For the past several days, I've been at the best summer camp ever . . . even though it's the middle of winter. I've been taking a spinning class at the John C. Campbell Folk School in western North Carolina. If you are at all interested in anything run, don't walk to this year-round "camp".
Blacksmithing, basketry, cooking, dancing, gardening, music, nature studies, soap making, weaving, woodcarving, knitting -- you name it, they offer it. And the best part is they offer it in a beautiful setting.
And as an added bonus for this winter-weary gal, it was sunny and 55 degrees today! Do you see that ground color? It's brown, not white. No snow! At this time of year, brown gives me hope and makes me smile.
You can attend the school for a week, or like me, a weekend. I came to learn spinning. I've been "spinning" for awhile, but I never really got it. I thought an intensive weekend of spinning would get me over the hump, and I was right.
We have yarn. We started on the drop spindle (not so good) and moved on to the wheel (much better). Today is plying. I am very excited! Lorri Helms, my teacher, is excellent and after me as a student, I think she will be sainted.
She also showed the class how to evaluate a fleece
and how to wash it. You don't want to see pictures of that. Dirty, dirty, dirty! Sheep are, after all, sheep. They get dirty. They need baths.
It wasn't all work. We had a bit of free time to explore the campus.
This is the dining hall. Yup, in addition to getting to play with wool all day, they feed you here too! (I might actually be in a dream. Nobody pinch me. I don't want to wake up.) The food is excellent and you eat family style with other school-goers. I got to talk with interesting people from all over the country.
Then I explored the gardens. Look! They planted spinach two days ago and they didn't need the row cover. It's sitting at the ready, but it's so warm it's been pulled off for the time being. This makes me itchy to get into the garden.
But then I was snapped back to reality. Those on the homefront kindly sent a picture of the farm in its current state.
I'm going to have to leave Fantasy Island today, but if I ever run away from home, I am running straight back here to Summer Camp!