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. The catalogue for this year’s courses can be found here. 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.
Taught by local biodynamic farmer Darby Weaver, these classes cover a range of topics on planting and gardening, including organic gardening, planting by the phases of the moon, and classes on soil management. Get a jump on your summer garden and learn a mix of approaches, from folk planting practices to advances in organic and biodynamic planting stragegies.
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.
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 processess involved in broom making while also learning to make peices that are useful AND aesthetically pleasing. We’re betting this is one class that will sweep you off your feet.
Straight from the pages of The Foxfire Magazine and The Foxfire Book of Simple Living, Kermit Rood is a skilled woodworker, rope maker, and all-around carpenter. However, Kermit’s passion is bottoming chairs. In this series of classes, students will learn and complete chair bottoms using various methods and materials, including 7-step cane, fiber rush, and flat reed. Students for these classes are requried to supply their own chair to be bottomed. Classes range from two to three days.
Pop-ups & Demos
In addition to our full slate of classes, we will regularly have pop-up workshops, demos, and scheduled demonstrations throughout the year. These are often a few hours long and are free with regular admission to the museum. Some examples include dye pot days, medicinal plant walks, open hearth and wood stove cooking demonstrations, and blacksmithing demos. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see pop-up announcements.