Folk/Traditional Arts

Videos in the Visual Arts Toolkit collection explore the elements of art and the principles of design as well as the design process from the planning stages to final creation. Through demonstrations and artist interviews, the collection represents a wide variety of cultures and artwork in a range of media.

  • Traditional Craft: Making an Umbrella Stand

    Berea College Crafts designs and produces wood furniture and other wooden items, such as umbrella stands. In this video, students demonstrate how an umbrella stand is crafted. Tools used include a saw, drill, jig, lathe, story stick, chisels, sanders, vise, and paint gun.

    Grades: K-12
  • Traditional Craft: Making a Ceramic Mug

    Learn how a ceramic mug is crafted in this video from Berea College Crafts. The potter uses a potter’s wheel and shapes the mug from a ball of clay in a process called throwing the clay. Once the mug is trimmed, it is left to dry overnight. The potter then adds a handle. The mug is fired in a bisque kiln, glazed, and then fired again to create the finished product.

    Grades: K-12
  • Traditional Craft: Making a Pendant

    Students at the jewelry studio at Berea College demonstrate how a copper pendant necklace is made. Jewelers use a handsaw to cut out the pattern from a stencil placed on a sheet of copper. After filing the edges, they stamp the copper with a design and shape the pendant with a mallet and dapping block. A buffing machine makes the pendant shiny, and a small torch is used to make a patina.

    Grades: K-12
  • Traditional Craft: Weaving a Placemat

    Berea College’s Crafts program began in 1893 with its weaving studio. In this video, students demonstrate how they weave a placemat. Placemats are woven on a loom and finished by a seamstress. Weavers demonstrate how to prepare a loom for a weaving project, and then how to operate the loom. A seamstress demonstrates how to cut and finish the edges of the placemat.

    Grades: K-12
  • Traditional Craft: Making a Broom

    Berea College Crafts has made brooms since 1920. In this video, students demonstrate how a broom is crafted. Broomcorn is secured around the handle with wire, then a decorative checkered pattern is crafted on the handle. After the broom head is stitched, the bottom is trimmed. Last, a leather string is tied through a hole in the handle so the broom can be hung for proper storage.

    Grades: K-12
  • Painting: Helen La France

    Kentucky artist Helen La France captures her memories of the rural South on canvas. For her images of typical African-American life, La France, who was born in 1919, draws on a lifetime of experiences and observations of how the lives of black and white Southerners have differed—and how they have changed.

    Grades: 4-13+
  • Wooden Animals: Minnie Adkins

    Folk artist Minnie Adkins says it is hard to find a really good stick for whittling because she is just about used them all up in the Isonville, Kentucky, area where she lives and works. She talks about how she came to carve the roosters and other animals she is known for, including a creature she originated, the “Roach Terminator”. She also describes the evolution of “A Day in the Country,” an annual event at which area folk artists can display and sell their work.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Beatin' and a-Bangin'

    William McClure and his son Randy make wooden shingles the old-fashioned way. They “rive” from the wood, using techniques handed down from grandfather to father to son. The McClures’ shakes are prized for their durability as well as their beauty. Randy McClure carries on the family business by catering to modern homeowners looking for the handcrafted appearance and durability of the shakes.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Baskets: Jennifer Heller

    Jennifer Heller taught herself how to make willow baskets over 20 years ago. She describes how she harvests the willow bark, experiments with various twining techniques, and designs and creates fine baskets that are both functional and artistic.

    Grades: K-13+
  • Mehendi-Maker

    Following a centuries-old Indian tradition, Anupama Sahasrabudhe creates elaborately designed mehendi on women’s hands for weddings and other special events. She is a part of a community of Indian women in Louisville, Kentucky, who meet to sing and play music, preserving their traditions and heritage.

    Grades: K-13+