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Digital Subscriptions > Knives Illustrated > Dec 2019 > BACK TO (FOLK) SCHOOL


The Clay Spencer Blacksmith Shop is a newer expansion to help facilitate the growing number of blacksmithing students.

To enter the realm of a blacksmith shop is a step into the past; a past that stretches back to our earliest origins when craftsmen who could create works of art and war from raw materials were considered alchemists and wizards.

John C. Campbell Folk School History

The Southern Appalachian region of the United States of the early 1900s was considered a savage and “backward” place. Journalists and popular fiction of the era depicted a region of uneducated country bumpkins and feuding family clans that produced no notable cultural achievements other than moonshine.

The extreme poverty of the region made the Appalachians a destination for missionaries and social workers. A young John C. Campbell, who had studied education and theology in New England, traveled to the region with his wife, Olive Dame, to study and document the people and culture. Arriving in Appalachia initially as documentarians of the dying cultures of those secluded and isolated hills and coves, Mr. and Mrs. Campbell studied and surveyed mountain life from Georgia to West Virginia, fueled by an idealist zeal to fix social problems through education.

John C. Campbell soon realized that the practices and techniques of the people of Appalachia were in need of preserving. When John died in 1919, Olive decided to create a place where these dying arts could be resuscitated and kept alive by teaching them to future generations. She decided to create a “Folk School,” or “school for the every-man”, based on the rural Danish Folk High Schools called Folkehøjskole. These were cooperative learning institutions where students boarded and studied specific crafts and skills in a non-competitive “no grades” atmosphere. This type of school was the perfect environment to help foster interest and passion for the old-time skills of the Appalachian people by having local craftsmen and artisans teach a new generation through the same way they learned.

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About Knives Illustrated

Knives Illustrated December 2019, An American Legacy Hogue Knives turns 10, Double - Duty Cutter, Undetectable Daggers, Renaissance Man, And More....