A review of craft camps around Appalachia
Camp is not just for kids anymore. A craft camp presents a great opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to immerse themselves in activities they love. Whether you want some laid-back summer fun or a chance to hone a serious skill set, attend a craft camp. Craft camps can help you connect to local culture, develop a passion, and spend time with like-minded others. There is a strong folk tradition involved with mastering a craft, and you can find many good craft camps to choose from in the Appalachian area.
North Carolina: Penland School of Crafts
Located just outside Asheville in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Penland School of Crafts takes an intensive approach to a variety of different media. Every summer, the school offers a whopping 98 different 1–2 week workshops in a wide array of crafts — from printmaking to metalwork and glassblowing. The minimum age for participation is 18. During the spring and fall, the school offers eight or so longer-term courses called concentrations for those who really want to move towards mastery of a craft.
Kentucky: Moonshine University
The name says it all. Located in Louisville, Moonshine University is “the Ivy League” of the distilling arts, an age-old and greatly respected craft in this region. Although it’s not for everyone, Moonshine University offers intensive courses on just about every aspect in the art of making spirits. Whether you are a hobbyist, a connoisseur or an entrepreneur looking to start a business, Moonshine University offers intense, fast-paced courses that will fully immerse you in the art of distilling.
Virginia: The Living Earth School
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Charlottesville, the Living Earth School presents an interesting twist on the theme of crafts. They consider themselves a school whose classroom is the natural world. The craft they teach is the most ancient one of all: how to survive and even thrive in nature through plant identification, tool making, animal tracking, shelter construction and more. On top of all this, they hope to help students feel more connected with the natural world, which is a pretty good deal in the mountains of Central Virginia.
Tennessee: Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp
Located 17 miles south of Knoxville on the campus of Maryville College, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp is considered to be among the cream of intensive bluegrass camps. The school offers a huge variety of music classes — including mountain dulcimer, dobro, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, songwriting, flatpicking, fingerpicking and more. This camp is for everyone from beginners to masters, and it features weekly workshops run by experienced staff. It’s truly a great way to get immersed in the traditional music of Appalachia.
Georgia: Atlanta Printmaker’s Studio
Atlanta Printmaker’s Studio is a nonprofit organization located in the west end of downtown Atlanta with the self-proclaimed mission of “promoting the fine art of printmaking.” They offer a range of printmaking classes to anyone — from those who are curious to aspiring professionals. In addition to hands-on courses that provide a chance to use high quality equipment, the studio offers residencies to artists and sponsors many events with great networking opportunities.
Photo credits: Celebrationeducation.ning.com