Friday, February 17, 2012

Folklife Friday: Foxfire

In 1974, during a visit with my parents, my Dad showed me a book that someone had loaned him.  Daddy said it was very interesting and I would like it.  I spent that afternoon reading the book, and I have been in love with it since then.

Foxfire was written in 1972 by Eliot Wigginton, a visionary teacher at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in Rabun County, Georgia, and his students.  The bookshelves in my house are full of Foxfire books written since then.  The first one is in danger of coming apart and is quite ragged around the edges, but it is still my favorite.

Last March, during spring break, my husband and I traveled to Rabun County in the North Georgia mountains to visit the Foxfire Museum.  It is a beautiful place, one where you could spend the day strolling between the exhibits. The day we were there, the clouds hung low and the surrounding mist seemed to enclose us in this quiet space and shut out the twenty-first century.

The museum transports you to Appalachia in the 1800s.  I wonder if the good people who placed these logs together and swept these board porches would be surprised  by the way we admire the work of their hands.

The Foxfire books, as well as local crafts,  can be purchased at the museum store. The staff there is amazingly helpful and knowledgeable.  Field trip, anyone?