Saturday, July 25, 2009


The faculty and staff of the Ocrafolk School met yesterday morning for a planning session over a delicious breakfast at the Flying Melon. The folk school which started three years ago is the brainchild of Gary Mitchell who was inspired by the Campbell Folk School in the North Carolina Mountains.

The school draws on the talents of various local and regional artists and craftspeople, sharing their expertise with participants from all over the southeast. Although the "classroom" is basically all of Ocracoke, the Soundfront Inn is the focal point.

In the past two seasons, the school has offered courses in photography, pottery, basketry, jewelry making, water color, music and songwriting and cooking. Also, David Senseney, Philip Howard and I have collaborated on an "Ocracoke Sampler" course with David teaching the natural history and ecology of the area, Philip teaching the human history, and yours truly sharing what I know of the nautical lore and seafaring traditions of the Outer Banks.

It appears likely that our good friend Jim Goodwin will be joining us this year to teach his specialty, ships in bottles! Jim is one of only 150 ships-in-bottles modelers in the whole nation and some of his work will be featured in the motion picture "The Lovely Bones" which will be released this fall. He usually has several models for sale at The Village Craftsmen shop on Howard St., some of which feature the Schooner Windfall. Jim has given me the enviable task of assisting him in preparing the bottles to receive the ships (the have to be empty!). He's rather partial to the old-fashioned bottles used by Pyrat Rum of Anguila which works out nicely since he and I are both rather partial to the product itself.

For more information about the folk school, log onto