Foxfire values the preservation of cultural crafts and folk ways, and offers opportunities to share this knowledge through its Heritage Skills programs. Various Heritage Skills classes are offered spring to fall each year and teach traditional crafts and practices, such as weaving, herbal medicine, and broom making.
Each course is taught on The Land by a specialist in each field. Some of our instructors come straight from the pages of The Foxfire Magazine and The Foxfire Book series. Additionally, you can access tickets to our classes here.
Additionally, in the interest of increasing access to underserved populations, Foxfire offers income-based tuition assistance for all of our heritage skills classes. To apply for tuition assistance, fill out the form linked here and return to us via mail or fax.
Ranging from beginner to intermediate, weaving courses are taught by our Village Weaver, Sharon Grist. All classes are taught onsite, using Foxfire’s studio looms. Students who have their own looms are encouraged to bring them if they wish. Classes are designed to help beginners learn the basics of weaving and/or experienced weavers perfect their craft.
The Village Weaver, Sharon Grist, has been locally-sourcing and spinning wool for many years. She now brings this experience to Foxfire students interested in learning the intracacies of wool types and varying spinning techniques. From chunky to fingering weight, this class covers it all. Students with their own wheels are encouraged to bring them, but we have wheels available.
While Carole Morse began her foray into folk crafts through basket weaving as a girl, her real love is making brooms. From cobweb brooms to hearth sweepers to standard floor models, Carole’s work is some of the best around. Students in Carole’s classes will walk away understanding the fundamental processes involved in broom making while also learning to make pieces that are useful AND aesthetically pleasing.
As featured in The Foxfire Magazine, Jenny Stevens of Miss Jenny’s Soap offers classes in lye soap making and castile soap making. We can absolutley testify that her techniques are proven – her soaps are some of our top sellers in the Foxfire museum store. Lye soap classes are taught in one-day sessions and castile soap classess are taught in two-day sessions; both are well worth the time.
Folk Medicine & Herbalism
Led by herbalist Patricia Kyritsi Howell our herbalism and medicinal plant curriculum is one of the best in the Southern Appalachians. Explore the diversity of herbs and medicines native to the Southern Appalachian region, the “apothecary of the nation”. Learn about folk medicine, wild food sources, and sustainable harvesting during a monthly nature walk, with much of the information coming from our own archives.
Jeffrey Gottlieb, (MS in Biology), has been a naturalist, outdoor educator and primitive
skills instructor for more than 30 years. He builds full-sized wigwams and replicates primitive tools and artifacts for display. He travels widely in the Eastern U.S. teaching at rendezvous, gatherings
and historic fairs. He has written a how-to manual on building wigwams, and a manual entitled Teaching Primitive Skills to Children. He is teaching Fire by Friction and Primitive Cooking on The Land.
Chair Bottoming & Wood Working
Straight from the pages of The Foxfire Book of Simple Living, Kermit Rood is a skilled woodworker and chair bottomer. In this series of classes, students can learn the basics of woodworking, or one of the many techniques to bottom chairs, including 7-step cane, fiber rush, and flat reed. Students for these classes are required to supply their own chair to be bottomed.
Foraging & Cookery
Learn about sustainable harvesting of wild foods and Southern Appalachian cooking from South African-born nutritionist and herbalist, Cara-Lee Langston. Cara holds a Certificate in Medical Herbalism and a Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health. She strives to build relationships with local farmers and to engage community interest in integrative health and wellness through her organization, Wildcraft Kitchen.