Richmond Folk Festival artisan guide

There are Virginians dedicated to making chairs, salt, tintypes, masks, and a record-time for shucking oysters. Oh, and a lot more!

There’s other stuff to do at the Folk Fest besides music! A bunch of folksy stuff, made right in Virginia.

All craft demonstrators will be doing their thing in the Virginia Folklife Craft Area. The times and dates given are for focused demonstrations, but you can see these crafts being done throughout the festival weekend.


Sunday, October 11th, 12:30 PM

We sit on them, we play musical games on them, but how much thought do we put into the craftsman that makes them? Sean “Purl” Samoheyl continues the tradition of German and Swiss immigrants who moved from the Pennsylvania area down to Maryland and Virginia in the mid-18th century–making beautiful, functional things. Samoheyl is part of the Twin Oaks Community, which, honestly, is one of the neatest things to read about ever. See how he’s mastered chaircraft!

More about Samoheyl.

Guitars and fiddles

Sunday, October 11th, 2:30 PM

Jackson Cunningham, a luthier out of Southwest Virginia–where all the good guitar wood comes from!–demonstrates the car and love that’s put into making an instrument that not only sounds but looks beautiful.

More about Cunningham.

Mongolian Masks

Saturday, October 10th • 1:30 PM

Generations of mask-makers are represented in this demonstration. The sacred art of the tsam, a Buddhist ritual, was banned in Mongolia under Communist decree in the 1930s, but Gankhuyag Natsag has been part of the movement to bring back the ritual and the rich costumes and masks that are part of it.

More about Gankhuyag Natsag and Zana Gankhuyag.


Saturday, October 10th • 3:30 PM AND Sunday, October 11th • 1:00 PM

Don’t try this at home–pretty sure making liquor privately is fairly illegal, but Jimmy Boyd of Franklin County will show you how it’s done, assuming you want to know without ever, ever wanting to break the law.

More about Jimmy and Jared Boyd.

Oyster Shucking

Sunday, October 11th • 3:30 PM

Not just any oyster shucking–champion oyster shucking. You can watch people who think they’re pretty good at removing delicious bites of meat from very tough shells compete against other people who think they’re pretty good at removing delicious bites of meat from very tough shells. Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd are two sisters who keep competing and letting us watch! It’s…a pretty amazing thing.

More about Deborah Pratt and Clementine Macon Boyd.


Saturday, October 10th • 12:30 PM

We’re stoked about this one in the RVANews office–Jim and Baron Bordwine live in Saltville, Virginia, which has a lot of salt marshes, and therefore lends itself well to those who make…craft beer! Just kidding, salt! This father-son team is keeping a tradition alive, and they’ll show you how they do it (and also tell you why).

More about Jim and Baron Bordwine.

Old timey photo prints

Saturday, October 10th • 2:30 PM AND ### Sunday, October 11th • 1:30 PM

Want to see how they made those crazy tintypes and daguerreotypes that look so charming and historic to us now? Richard Pippin and Melissa Jones know exactly how to do it. Pippin brings photography back to a better place–where it shouldn’t be so easy to create an image. Put those iPhones away, people. It’s time to get real with our photos.

More about Richard Pippin and Melissa Jones.

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Susan Howson is managing editor for this very website. She writes THE BEST bios.

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