"Finding Light: Candlemaking 101" (not listed in our print catalog) is offered twice this fall: Sunday, Sep. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 12.
Adirondack Folk School: "Explore. Discover. Create"

September 2016 Newsletter

Adirondack Folk School
51 Main St. / P.O. Box 2
Lake Luzerne, NY 12846
(518) 696-2400

Leslie Scarborough of Road Less Traveled Needle-Felt demonstrates needle-felting, for participants of the AFS Summer Craft Festival, Saturday, Aug. 27.

The "Kidz' Zone" (with bead station pictured) was one of many booths which delighted children and families alike during the AFS Summer Craft Festival, Saturday, Aug. 27. (Image courtesy of Jessica Fernandez.)
The sky was cloudless and the air was warm, as vendors pitched their tents, neatened their displays, and sliced their toppings, in the morning of the AFS Summer Craft Festival and Annual Membership Meeting, Saturday, Aug. 27.

Craft vendors offered a variety of
Adirondack-influenced wares for sale, while giving or guiding demos, both educational and exciting.

AFS instructors John and Renee Kingsley brought examples of their woodworking and lampworking (i.e. glass bead working) expertise, respectively, while children turned wooden bowls with John's help.

AFS instructor Don Polunci entertained visitors to his booth, enclosed by a three-walled panoply of vibrant rustic birdhouses -- each birdhouse, an Adirondack microcosm (see picture at end of newsletter).

In the AFS "Kidz' Zone," produced by AFS quilting instructor and board member Sandy Collins and her husband David, little hands pounded nails into toolboxes and threaded beads onto strings, some for the first time.

Families and children enjoyed stories, felt animal hides, and pondered the fractal nature of pine cones, thanks to AFS basketry instructor Barbara Boughton of Myers Forge Heritage Arts.

AFS instructor Barbara Boughton discusses Adirondack animal anatomy with a curious festival-goer.
(Image courtesy of Jessica Fernandez.)

Inside the main building, AFS fiber arts instructor Caroline Dvorak guided participants, ages five to ninety-one, through the basics of weaving, letting them push and pull the levers and treadles of a floor loom with their own hands and feet.

At 11 a.m., AFS banjo instructor Mac Petrequin and his band Out of the Bluegrass began playing tunes, both buoyant and hearty, which rolled up the hillside to festival-goers.

AFS board members, staff, and volunteers began grilling hamburgers and hot dogs, as lunch approached. Board member Dave Riihimaki and family prepared and baked handmade pizzas in AFS's outdoor, stoneworked wood-fired oven.

AFS's annual membership meeting began at noon in our main building. Board members and staff made a call for volunteers who could assist with future events like the festival.

The Board and staff also expressed incipient optimism for the current fiscal status of AFS, citing a healthy enrollment during the summer, and a growth in publicity.

When the forum was opened to members for discussion, their commentary about AFS operations and goals was brief; although some expressed reassurance, owing to the present stability of the school's budget.

Near the close of the festival, Southern Adirondack Audubon Society President John Loz, a gracious supporter of AFS, drew the winning raffle ticket for a Damascus steel hunting knife forged by AFS blacksmithing instructor Matthew Parkinson.

The knife, valued at about $800, was forged following a blacksmithing technique which
originated in the region of contemporary Syria.

Mike Martone, a knife collector from Troy, NY, was happily in attendance at the festival when his winning ticket was drawn. AFS congratulates Martone for winning this treasure, which also appears in the current issue of Knives Illustrated magazine.

We at AFS thank all participating vendors, volunteers, members, and visitors
; and also, Out of the Bluegrass band; for making this year's Summer Craft Festival and Membership Meeting a memorable event. Through your participation you've helped us to pursue our goal, which is to preserve, promote, and stimulate regional folklife, through non-competitive experiential education programs.

Mike Martone (left), winner of the Damascus steel knife raffle, from Troy, NY, stands with AFS President Rand Condell (right) during the Festival.

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AFS blacksmithing instructors (from left to right) Matthew Parkinson, Derek Heidemann, Lucian Avery, Gerald Boggs, Dick Sargent, Robert Menard, Peter Ross, Dave Kurdyla, Steve Gurzler, Patrick Quinn, and Mark Aspery stand in front of the AFS blacksmithing shop, during the 2016 AFS Blacksmithing Instructors Rendezvous.

2016 AFS Blacksmithing Instructor Rendezvous:

From August 12 until 14, many of AFS's accomplished blacksmithing instructors converged at our campus for a weekend of forging, trade talk, and camaraderie.

The instructors made tools, and educational displays; and also repaired equipment; during the AFS Blacksmithing Instructor Rendezvous, which has become an annual event.

AFS President of the Board of Trustees Rand Condell says, "This event is unique among schools like ours which teach blacksmithing, according to the instructors -- and they would know if it wasn't."

The reputation of AFS's blacksmithing instructors is notable, and the roster which joined the Rendezvous this year leaves no exception: the roster included a museum-quality hardware specialist, a "Forged in Fire" reality show contestant, an erudite historical generalist, and a YouTube sensation and published author -- among others, all having valuable and unique blacksmithing skills.

Participants in the annual event typically teach at other schools or workshops, in addition to teaching at AFS. Some also teach nationally, or internationally.

"Storyboards," used for blacksmithing education; and hand tools; all forged by participants of the 2016 Rendezvous.

Tools forged this year by instructors include a variety of handle-top tools, designed to be hit by a striking hammer during forging.

Other creations of the participants, "blacksmithing storyboards," prove important for education at AFS, by manifesting progressions of items forged in courses at AFS, in discrete steps. Storyboards forged this year  (seen in the image above) include those for a tapered hot punch, a wizard bottle opener, a stag-horn hinge, a roasting fork, a "bean" door hinge, a 3-D puzzle, a kitchen knife, a marshmallow roaster, a bookmark, and a hunting knife.

Participating instructors lodged, without cost, with volunteers from the AFS Board and staff, for the three-day event. AFS also hosted a dinner for the 'smiths, in the polypurpose room at AFS, Friday, Aug. 12.

"The Rendezvous dinner is one of the of the most important events of the weekend," Condell says, "because everyone has an opportunity to discuss technique, courses, and prospective instructors, with their peers -- a rare opportunity in the blacksmithing trade."

Angular pen drawings on the tablecloth which covered the Rendevous dinner table on Friday attest to the intensity and exuberance of the technical discussion which enveloped the polypurpose room during the Rendezvous dinner.

We at AFS are grateful, for both the instructors who donated their time and expertise toward improving the educational environment at AFS, and for the Board and staff members who graciously hosted these instructors.

We look forward to another enjoyable and productive AFS Blacksmithing Instructor Rendezvous in 2017!

Instructors (left to right) Peter Ross, Dick Sargent, and Mark Aspery pause for a moment of joviality in the blacksmithing shop during the Rendezvous. (Image courtesy of Robert Menard.)

Open Forge Nights 2016:

Get an introduction to the art of blacksmithing, by visiting AFS on any of our Open Forge Nights, for an amazing demonstration by expert smith Steve Gurzler.

Observing the demonstration is free and open to the public. For those who want to try their hand at blacksmithing and forge an item at open forge, there is a $20 fee to cover the cost of materials, and safety precautions must be followed — including hard shoes with no open toes, long pants, goggles (supplied) and gloves (supplied).

Demos begin at 6:30 p.m. on these dates:

Wednesday, September 21
Wednesday, October 19

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September and October Classes

Below is a listing of our September and October course offerings (classes) which still have space left for more students. For course descriptions and pricing, click on course titles.

September classes:

Sat., 9/10: Braided-rim Basket for the Tabletop or Wall, Hand Papermaking
Sun., 9/11: Woodturning-The Kid in All of Us, Introduction to Lampworking: Glass Beads, Rugs from Rags
Sat., 9/17: Gourd Art: Jack-o'-Lantern Candy Bowl
Sun., 9/18: Adirondack Coat Rack
Fri., 9/23: Carved Stool, Forging Hollow Forms from Pipe
Sat., 9/24: Adirondack Blueberry Picking and Gathering Basket, Carved Stool, Forging Hollow Forms from Pipe
Sun., 9/25: Forging Hollow Forms from Pipe, Finding Light: Candlemaking 101
Fri., 9/30: Build the Sagamore Chair

October classes:

Sat., 10/1: Southwest Trinket Bowl Basket, Rustic End Tables, Build the Sagamore Chair, Making Winter Mukluks/Moccasins
Sun., 10/2: Rustic End Tables, Build the Sagamore Chair, Sew a Blanket Shirt
Mon,, 10/3: Build the Sagamore Chair
Thur., 10/6: Basic Weaving, Beginning Blacksmithing
Fri., 10/7: Beginning Blacksmithing
Sat., 10/8: Beginning Blacksmithing, Gourd Mask, Perfect Pictures Every Time for Beginners
Sun., 10/9: Fall Lakes and Waterways at Dawn Photo Tour, Woodturning-Call of the Wild, Introduction to Lampworking: Glass Beads, Beginning Blacksmithing
Fri., 10/14: Adirondack Woodshed, Andirons for the Fireplace
Sat., 10/15: Gourd Purse, Adirondack Woodshed, Traditional or Arts & Crafts Era Floorcloth, Andirons for the Fireplace
Sun., 10/16: Traditional or Arts & Crafts Era Floorcloth,Adirondack Woodshed, Andirons for the Fireplace, Rugs from Rags, Soap Making
Sat., 10/22: Penobscot Basket, Nice Vise-Repairing your Leg Vise, Black Ash Basketry: Harvest, Process and Weaving
Sun., 10/23: Live Edge Bowl, Black Ash Basketry: Harvest, Process and Weaving
Sat., 10/29: Shades of Nature, Scroll Saw Christmas Ornaments
Sun., 10/20: Shades of Nature

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Saratoga Arts to Host AFS Benefit Concert in October

Students in "Adirondack Pack Basket -- Small" stand in front of the AFS blacksmithing shop with their finished projects, June 21, in a poster for the AFS Benefit Concert, scheduled for Friday, Oct. 14 at Saratoga Arts Center.

Saratoga Arts will host a benefit concert in support of AFS at their Arts Center, Friday, October 14, 2016, 7 p.m. in downtown Springs, NY, at 320 Broadway.

The concert features Dan Berggren, AFS instructor, and Adirondack folk musician and historian; and also, 25-year-old Adirondack songwriter Alex Smith.

According to promotional material issued by Berggren and Smith:

"Dan and Alex are united in their passion of folk traditions and songs that grow from the mountains. Their similarities far out-number their 40-year age difference: both were raised in small Adirondack towns, studied at St. Lawrence University, and they continue to keep a keen ear on local stories and write songs that reach far beyond the Blue Line [of the Adirondack Park]. Both are featured in the PBS documentary on Adirondack music, Songs to Keep."
Advance tickets are now available from AFS, via cash, check, or charge. Advance tickets are $18; door tickets are $20.

More details about the event and the performers will appear in our next newsletter.

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AFS Gift Shop Receives Renovation

The AFS gift shop show its recent renovations, including newly painted walls and shelves among other improvements.

The AFS gift shop has received an extensive renovation since this spring.

Walls and shelves were painted; display units and shelves were added, along with a shaker peg-board; new lightning, and ornamental greenery, now adorns the shop's periphery; and a new, large rustic mirror entices visitors to preview their adornments while they decide whether to buy them.

The renovations in the gift shop transpired after several board members and staff traveled to similar venues in the region in spring. One such influential venue was the Adirondack Buyer Days, sponsored by ANCA (Adirondack North Country Association).

The attendance of Adirondack Buyer Days, in particular, by AFS gift shop advisors led to the introduction of many current vendors' merchandise into the gift shop.

In the near future, AFS plans to expand its gift shop across the lobby, into what is now the volunteer office (pictured, behind the counter in the picture below). The reconnoitering of office furnishings has already begun, in preparation of this expansion.

AFS would like to thank the following people, in alphabetical order, for their extraordinary effort in continually improving and maintaining the AFS gift shop this year: David Collins, Sandy Collins, Ginny Franzen, Roberta Games, and Karen Goldberg.

The AFS gift shop opens into the lobby of AFS, where the future gift shop will eventually flow across the hall into current office space, after planned renovations proceed.

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E.D. Scott Hayden Appears on LookTV, Again

Look Today Host Jesse Jackson (right) interviews AFS Executive Director Scott Hayden about the Summer Craft Festival on LookTV, Thursday, Aug. 18.

AFS Executive Director Scott Hayden appeared Thursday, Aug. 18 on Look Today, a daily, local- news and interest show produced by Saratoga Springs-based LookTV (WNCE: Channel 8, Warren & Washington Counties; Channel 68, Saratoga County).

Hayden discussed the details of the Summer Craft Festival, in an interview with Look Today host Jesse Jackson, nearly a week before the festival date of Saturday, Aug. 27.

The interview marks Hayden's second appearance on Look Today since his tenure at AFS began in May.

In his first appearance on the show, Hayden and AFS woodworking instructor James Schreiner of Great Sacandaga Designs explained the school's value for the region, on June 29.

The TV appearances are part of a recent campaign by the Board of Trustees and staff toward diversifying AFS's outreach efforts, and facilitating community feedback.

"We are working to engage our community in ways which they find more interesting and useful," Hayden says. "Our experience with our members, students, and visitors demonstrates that local, regional, and social media -- and of course, outreach events like our Summer Craft Festival and Annual Membership Meeting -- are the avenues best-suited for pursuing this goal."

"Opening the door for more community interaction," Hayden says, "means utilizing AFS's greatest resource -- our community's opinions -- more actively."

To watch interviews with Hayden, from August or June, please follow the corresponding links above in the article.

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Featured Instructor: Linda Scherz Allen

AFS basketry instructor Linda Scherz Allen (left) helps a student, who is learning to make a large-size Adirondack pack basket at AFS in 2014.

A laudable contribution by instructor Linda Scherz Allen to AFS is certainly her selection of courses which celebrate and teach the art of the Adirondack pack basket in myriad sizes. The basket is an enduring icon of the Adirondack region, thought to combine both Indigenous and Euro-Colonial American traditions in its origin.

However, besides Scherz Allen's enthusiastic, interactive preservation of the pack basket -- an item cherished as a staple of regional material culture, and heralded as a practical renovation in expeditionary gear -- her patience, professionalism, and pedagogical skill are noted often by AFS students and staff, alike.

A resident of Rome, NY, Scherz Allen has taught large, medium, small, and miniature Adirondack pack basket courses and special programs, since she joined AFS during its inception in 2010. Other courses she has taught at AFS include "Waxed Linen Basket," "Oval Basket," "Zig Zag 'N' Fold Basket," and "Miniature Basket."

Scherz Allen, who has been making baskets since 1987, is also an entrepreneur, operating through "Adirondack Basketry." Heirloom basketry cribs are for sale on Scherz Allen's website, beside miniature basket design kits -- each accompanied by video tutorials designed to coax the uninitiated basketmaker toward intuitive crafting, in the same unassuming manner which impresses many of her students.

AFS is excited to offer Scherz Allen's courses and special programs, involving the Adirondack pack basket, in addition to her courses which tactfully incorporate elements and techniques of contemporary basketry.

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Special Programs, Group Packages, and Corporate Retreats

Incoming first-year students from Hamilton College, NY, hold their small Adirondack pack baskets, which they made in a special program with AFS instructor Linda Scherz Allen (back row, third from right), Aug. 24.

We at AFS offer several packages, for special programs such as  corporate retreats, camp programs, or group workshops.

Additionally, if your organization has specific programming goals in mind, our staff can coordinate special programs, designed specifically to meet your organization's goals.

All special programs' clients can choose between programs hosted onsite, or offsite, of our campus.

Please contact either Program Manager Mary Stevens or Executive Director Scott Hayden about special programs, 518-696-2400 (or via email links).

Courses, Membership, Volunteers, and Donations

Students stand beside their nearly-done projects, during the August offering of "Build a Wee Lassie Canoe."

To register for classes, call (518) 696-2400 or sign up online. Feel free to browse our courses, by category; or to view classes within a time frame, using our calendar.

All AFS members receive the benefit of reduced class tuition, among other benefits. Not a member yet? You can become a member during class registration, or enroll separately.

Remember to add your name to the wait list for classes that are full. We often schedule new sessions for courses that build up wait lists, so don't give up -- sign up, on the wait list!

Do you have an idea for a course or program, or do you know someone who can teach one? If so, please contact Program Manager Mary Stevens.

We are always seeking volunteers to help us accomplish the goal of AFS, which is to preserve, promote, and stimulate regional folklife, through non-competitive experiential education programs. If you are interested in volunteering, please pick up a volunteer enrollment form at our office.

As a non-profit organization, Adirondack Folk School relies on the support of our members, volunteers and donors, in order to operate effectively. Although our enrollment is currently healthy, donor support remains vital to AFS's continuing operation.

Please consider calling or visiting AFS to speak with Executive Director Scott Hayden about making a donation. Alternatively, please consider donating online.

We thank you for your support.


Rustic birdhouses made by Don Polunci catch some morning sunlight at the Summer Craft Festival, Saturday, Aug. 27. Polunci's "Rustic Birdhouses" course is offered next, Nov. 19.

Adirondack Folk School, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization registered in New York State.
Copyright © 2016 Adirondack Folk School, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Adirondack Folk School
51 Main Street
PO Box 2
Lake Luzerne, New York 12846

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