Ozark Folk School: Register Now for Session One

Jill M. Rohrbach

Working with your hands can be very satisfying. Carrying on traditions can be heartening. Ozark Folk School at Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View allows you to do both. Participants learn traditional Ozark crafts, music and gardening in hands-on classes taught by expert artisans. 

The park offers a short session on March 17-19, and the five-day school on March 20-25.  

The Folk School, as well as other workshops and seminars offered throughout the year, ensures that the mission of the state park is carried on in the lives of people. Its mission is to preserve, document, display and interpret the cultural and social history of the Ozark region.  

The Craft Village presents more than 20 different demonstrations of Ozark mountain pioneer crafts such as basket making, pottery, blacksmithing, quilting and broom making. Craft items are for sale both from the artisans directly and in the Homespun Gift Shop. The Village also contains an herb garden and children’s area. In addition, there are hourly music performances and a daily living history presentation. Folk Center concerts feature a variety of traditional acoustic music from the southern mountains of the United States. Special concerts during the year will feature other forms of music such as contemporary country, gospel, rock and folk.

These Folk School classes for the first three-day session beginning March 17 still have openings (descriptions from Ozark Folk Center website):


Acoustic Guitar Workshop

Robert Bowlin will show you how to take your flatpicking and fingerpicking to the next level, no matter what kind of music you like to play- jazz, bluegrass, country, folk, Celtic, whatever…. Participants in his workshop will receive valuable personalized instruction in the following areas: using left and right hands more efficiently; increasing dynamic range; improving tone from both the right and left hands; improving transitions from lead to rhythm playing; learning by ear more efficiently; demystify seemingly impossible solos; stringing ideas and phrases together so that they create music and not meaningless notes; creating rock solid rhythm playing. Class fee: $150.

Artisan Cheesemaking

Participants will learn to make five different cheeses, including farmers cheese and mozzarella. The fee includes cheese molds, milk, cheese cloth, thermometer, etc. At the end of the class, students will be able to make cheese at home in their own kitchens with minimal equipment. Participants are asked to bring a cooking pot large enough to hold 1/2 gallon of milk, a slotted spoon and a plastic box (the size of a shoe box). Class fee: $270.

BLACKSMITHING-Forge your own Blacksmithing Tools

In this class you will learn to make your own:
Hardy hot cuts
Bending bars
Simple tongs
Small spring fuller

This is an intermediate level class. You will need a basic understanding of the use of forge and hammer to succeed in this class. Bring gloves and wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. Class fee: $275.

Candle Making – bee’s wax and more

Learn to make beautiful, long-burning candles from bee’s wax and beautiful crystaline tallow.
In this class you’ll go beyond the basics of waxes and molds. You’ll learn how to work creatively with the medium of wax to make candles that are uniquely your own creations. Of course, you’ll get a solid background in waxes, molds and techniques before you branch out to explore. Mold preparation and found molds will also be covered. Some special effects with tapers and molds will also be covered. Class fee: $245.

Collage & Mixed Media

In this fun-filled three-day workshop, we will explore papers, paints, mediums, collage components, and techniques just to name a few! Get ready to have a great time and let go of your artistic inhibitions. Come and put your creative instincts to work. Surprise yourself with what’s been hiding all this time just waiting to come out on to a canvas!

Students will color Oriental papers and let them dry. Then these papers are cut and torn into a composition using design principals and gluing to a support of watercolor paper. This is where the mixed media comes in using water media paint (transparent and opaque), lifting, scratching, collaging on more possibly, and rearranging or whatever it takes to make a good finished piece.

Everyone will work at their own pace with the assistance of Ann Snyder, instructor, who will also demonstrate the above techniques before the students paint and collage on their own. Class fee: $175.


Dobro Workshop

The 2011 Dobro Workshop will focus on country, country-blues, gospel and old time dobro playing in either a solo or a group context. Geared towards the intermediate player, we will work on classic fills and licks that can be used in many songs. We will also work with minor chords, 7th chords and waltzes. Jam time each afternoon. Limited one-on-one time also available. Class fee: $150.


Family Emergency Preparedness

Family emergencies don’t have to be the big disasters that make the news. Illness, changes in job status or other circumstances all present their own challenges.Learn ways to ease your life and the lives of those who depend on you during all types of crises in this 3-day workshop. Not only will you learn about food storage, water supply care, what you need to have stocked and what you need to have on hand to keep your family safe, fed, happy and healthy during a disaster in this 3 day emergency preparedness class, you also learn tips for making your everyday life easier and healthier. Class fee: $135.

Flower Fairies – Corn Shuck Dolls

In this 3-day workshop you’ll learn the basics of tying a corn shuck doll. Then you’ll discover how to use your own creativity to explore options using a variety of materials. You’ll learn how to tie your own and dye them, too, to make the happy, pastel fairie colors. Join teacher Paula Lane and learn just how much fun corn shucks can be. You’ll learn where to find materials, how to prepare them and how to use them to create these fun fairies. Class fee: $215.

Folk Kids

Fun-filled, fact-filled and creative, this three-day session is for kids 8 to 12 and the cost is $15 per day for the 3 days. Sign up for one day or come for all three. This fee includes all materials.

Tie dyed t-shirts, pottery, rhythm instruments and Ozark games are just a few of the projects that kids will be working on and finishing to take home. We’ll try a plant painting project, too. Invite a friend and sign up for this great time at the Ozark Folk Center.

Frame Looms, Fibers and Finishes

Build your own frame loom and learn to make rugs in this 3-day class taught by Arlone Folkers. You will go home with a rug in progress on the loom and all the information to finish this rug yourself and make many more.

Your class fee covers the cost for wood and hardware for the frame loom, enough warp yarn for one rug, and a handbook of instructions. Students need to bring – sharp scissors; a cloth tape measure; several pieces of all colored cotton knit clothing (old t-shirts, skirts, turtle necks, etc) to recycle into weft for their rugs. No woodworking or fiber experience is necessary, but some arm and hand strength is required.

Day one: build a simple 30” X 48” rug frame loom with a variety of hand tools.Day two: Learn about fiber choices for rug warp and how to select and prepare ready-to-recycle natural fiber clothing for weft. Warp the frame loom with sustainably grown hemp twine and cut materials for weft.Day three: Learn a simple rug construction technique and various finishes. Class fee: $305.

Glass Beadmaking Fundamentals

This is much more than a beginning workshop. It is 3 days full of necessary tips and a long list of skill building techniques to bring a beginner or intermediate student to a higher level of control for the medium that promotes freedom in design.

We will learn through unlimited inspiration found in techniques that originated from ancient cultures around the world, such as Stratification or dotwork, twisted canes, stringers, feathering, Frits and Foils and Transparent color overlays – All with an emphasis on creating a well formed bead that will stand the test of Centuries to come. Class fee: $460.

Hypertufa Pots and Garden Art

In this messy workshop you’ll learn to combine peat moss, pearlite and Portland cement into beautiful garden art and planters that are limited only by your imagination. Hypertufa pots and sculptures are light weight, yet strong when cured. They last for many years and can be as functional or whimsical as the person who makes them. Wear old clothes, bring rubber gloves and bring interesting items for molds for your pots. Class fee: $195.

Old World Santas

Old World Santas have enchanted children and adults for many years. Now is the chance to create your own. You will sculpt the face from Celluclay, paint it and then attach it to the base. The costumes will be created from beautiful fabrics, you’ll have your choice of vintage quilts, wool and tapestry material using simple hand-sewing and gluing techniques. This class is appropriate for all skill levels. All supplies will be provided by your instructor. Class fee: $210.

Reed Basket Weaving

Learn to weave fun, beautiful and useful round baskets. In this 3-day class you will make your own round bread basket, for serving rolls and muffins; one round utility basket, perfect for displaying dried flowers or a carved wooden spoon collection; and one 9-inch round berry basket with a handle. If you have time, you will be able to add colored reed or seagrass embellishments to your basket. While weaving these baskets you will learn all the skills you need to continue this rewarding craft at home. Class fee: $245.

Scrimshaw – Learn the Ancient Art of Etching on Ivory

Scrimshaw, a folk art dating back centuries, is a special form of engraving applied to ivory and similar materials. This course offers an excellent way to learn traditional and modern scrimshaw, including how to work with tools, the use of black pigments, and how to work on both natural and man-made materials. Students will also study basic drawing, composition, shading, pattern sizing, and transfer. If you have a piece that you want to work in scrimshaw, bring it with you. Class fee: $270.

Sheep to Shawl

This whirlwind class gives you a start at many different fiber arts.On day one you’ll get to visit with various fiber critters, learn about different types of fleeces and processing. Then you’ll learn how to prepare fiber for spinning. Starting with the drop spindle, you’ll learn how to spin your own yarn. Students who have a knack for spinning will be able to try their hand at several different types of spinning wheels. On the second day, you’ll learn about fiber dyeing, using natural dyes, acid dyes, rit and the unusual dyestuff – Kool-Aid. You’ll finish spinning your skeins of yarn and dye both fiber and yarn. By the end of the second day, you’ll have enough yarn ready to begin to weave. Day three will be spent learning basic weaving techniques with your handspun yarn on a triangle loom. Create purses, scarves and more with this warp-free weaving method.
Tools and additional fiber – looms, spindles, spinning wheels, cards and fiber will be available to use during class and will be available to purchase at the Ozark Folk Center. Class fee: $210.

Songwriting Workshop

This workshop is designed to help songwriters of all levels focus on the creative process of songwriting, learning to avoid creative “ruts,” create awareness, and find inspiration in everyday life.

A few of the topics that will be covered include: how to find inspiration for song ideas, and how to keep the creativity flowing. Participants will also learn the foundations and tools for capturing ideas, and organizational hints to keep those ideas from becoming lost; take part in daily songwriting exercises to get the creative juices flowing; and analyze a couple of your favorite songs by other writers, for the whole class. There will be one-on-one help and critique for your own work. Be prepared to bring unfinished songs and work to finish them. Be prepared to start and finish at least one song from scratch. Tips on musical arrangement and performance will also be given. Class fee: $150.

Taking Flight with Brooms

Take the basic turkey wing or hawktail broom to the next level and explore variation on the theme. In this 3-day class you will learn to tie the style of broom known in the Ozarks as the Turkey wing. You will also learn to tie a hawktail whisk broom. You will then explore artful ways to combine to combine these forms into folk art. Class fee: $185.

Weaving – Overshot – intermediate level

If you’ve ever admired beautiful, old coverlets, chances are you looking at overshot weaves. This intermediate weaving class will de-mystify those patterns and give you a chance to weave a piece in traditional fibers.

We will start by weaving samples in a variety of small overshot patterns on pre-warped looms. Time permitting; each participant will weave several different samples for comparison. We’ll look at the drafts and the structure of those samples and explore how the structure allows the base of plain weave while creating the bold pattern.

Each participant will select one pattern, warp a floor loom, and weave a small runner to finish the class. Come prepared to fall in love with over-shot. Participants need to know the basics of dressing the loom and 4-harness weaving. All threads, yarns, scissors, paper and use of warping boards and looms will be provided for use in class. Class fee: $260.

Wire Wrapped Jewelry

Learn to make your own necklace and ring with your unique flair. The class will cover design, wire measuring, secure stone setting and finishing details. All tools necessary will be provided during the class, but if you have your own jeweler’s tools, feel free to bring them. Students will start with brass practice wire and move on the precious metal wire for their finished piece.

Team teaching Wire Wrapped Jewelry are Charles and Linda Widmer. Linda specializes in pendants while Charles will instruct in wire rings. Linda and Charles are well known for their unique and beautiful jewelry designs. The couple are demonstrating jewelers at the Ozark Folk Center. They have been making jewelry for 21 years and have been in the arts and crafts business for over 31 years. Class fee: $320.

Wood Carving, the modern way


Learn to create and finish your own materpiece of art using a rotary tool (Dremel) and power carver. “Bubba” Bill Standard, woodcarver at the OFC for 10 years will introduce you to the world of power carving to create this masterpiece the fast and easy way.

Each student will be provided with their own Dremel and various wood with which to create their art. If you want to carve ornamental designs, wildlife scenes, and other beautiful elements in wood, this course will give you the skills to achieve that dream. It is designed for everyone from beginners to those who already know their way around a burl. Beautiful wood carving can enhance gunstocks, fine cabinets, picture frames, doors, cases, trophies, and awards … the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Taught by Ozark Folk Center’s one and only award-winning Bubba, this fun and rewarding course includes how to carve spirit faces, log cabins and woodland scenes using POWER TOOLS. You will learn how to choose the correct bit for the type carving you want to do and how to work with the tools. Each student will finish at least one carved piece to take home and will learn the skills to complete many more. Class fee: $250.

Registration and Information

Most classes registration deadlines are March 1, but some instructors will take more students after that date. Some instructors also offer a small discount on the class fee if you register before March 1. Most of the fees include materials. For more information on the workshops, class instructors, or the school schedule, visit OzarkFolkCenter.com. The class registration fees do not include meals and lodging.

Registration Form: 


 The Cabins at Dry Creek located here at the Ozark Folk Center have special rates available for Folk School students.  Just let them know when you make your reservation that you are a Folk School Student. If you come with a roommate this cost can be shared.


  The Skillet Restaurant will be open for your convenience for breakfast and lunch serving from a limited menu. There are many fine and fun restaurants in Mountain View and often school participants go as a group for dinner.

For information on registration and accommodations, please call the Ozark Folk Center at 800-264-3655 or 870-269-3851.








Join the Conversation