September Sampler 2024

Join us Saturday, September 14th for a sample of all the Alabama Folk School has to offer. Crafters, musicians, and true beginners alike, can find something to love at this event. Sign up for one of several day-class options. Classes range in price from $125-150.00. Lunch is included with each class tuition. Tuition also includes the majority of supplies needed.


  • 8:00-8:45 am Student Check-In
  • 9:00-11:45 am Class Session One
  • 12:00 pm Lunch
  • 1:00-3:30 pm Class Session Two
  • 3:45 pm Head Home!

Register Here


Beginner Blacksmithing with Quinn McKay

In this class, students will learn some of the blacksmithing basics through the creation of nails and hooks. While making these, students will get experiece forming hot steel with a hammer and anvil and learn tapering, upsetting, scrolling, bending, shouldering, and punching. No experience is necessary!

Quinn is an artist blacksmith working at Iron Horse Metalworks in Birmingham, AL and independently as McKay Forged Metals.

Quinn McKay’s creative energies are rooted in a love of Architecture, blended with a deep connection to nature. Elements of his designs are inspired by the clean lines we surround ourselves with and the natural forms outside of that. Throughout much of his work, the use of nature’s proportions are present. Attending the American College of the Building Arts in Charleston, SC solidified Quinn’s love of forging metal. During his time at ACBA, Quinn explored many different styles of ironwork taking the most influence from Art Nouveau and the Arts and Crafts movement. He celebrates the material in his pieces by preserving its natural displacement when forged, leaving the evidence of each manipulation. Acting with this sense of preservation is his homage to the tradition of forging.

Photo by Michelle Consuegra Lambert

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Chinese Knot Tying with Sarah Bell

Chinese Knotwork is an ancient folk art once practiced throughout China as a way to communicate, bestow well wishes and blessings, and decorate humble belongings. In this beginner class you will explore the skill, technique, history, and symbolism of traditional Chinese knotting. We will learn basic and compound knots and their meanings that you can use to create fanciful jewelry and decoration.

Sarah is a fiber artist, sculptor, farmer, and educator based in Birmingham, Alabama. Descended from Chinese and American ancestry, she grew up using art and creativity as a way to find a sense of connection to her experiences of familial migration, grief, and home. She is greatly influenced and inspired by the use of natural and sustainable materials, ancestry of people and land, as well as ancient craft processes and land tending techniques that interweave into her daily engagement with place, materiality, and its impermanence

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Goat Milk Soap Making with Laura Spencer

In this entry level class, you will learn the basics of felting soap and making lotion and cold process soap using goat’s milk. Each participant will make their own 10 bar loaf of soap, a container of lotion, and two felted soaps. (Soaps will will mailed within a week!)

* tuition for this class includes a $60 supply and mailing fee.

Laura owns and operates a family farm and homestead in Marion Junction, Alabama. Simply Making It offers goat's milk soap, skincare products, beeswax candles, and more. Laura crafted her first batch of soap in 2010. What started as a simple next step in her family's effort to become more sustainable, slowly grew beyond family and beyond soap, into a small business that continues today. Every product is handmade using natural ingredients, including milk from Laura's goats, herbs from her garden, and pure essential oils.


Native American Flute Making with Charlie Mato Toyela

In this class students will use simple tools to make their own flute. Charlie will do forty percent of the building work letting students do the rest. This ensures a good quality and experience. Everyone will leave with a beautiful flute and working knowledge of how to play it.

Native American flute maker, Charlie Mato-Toyela, of Blue Bear Flutes creates authentic handcrafted flutes for all levels of player from beginners to advanced. The quality comes from handcrafting these wonderful instruments for over 32 years! Charlie teaches classes on flute making, flute playing and general info about Native American culture, especially that of the flute.

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Sourdough Pizza Making with Erin Merhar

In this class you will learn to build and maintain a healthy sourdough starter; then use it to make airy, flavorful Neopolitan-style pizza. We’ll start by making the crust, then shape and top with fresh produce from the Camp McDowell farm. You will learn to bake using both a conventional home oven (with baking stone), as well as a high-heat outdoor oven. Challenge yourself to launch and turn pizzas for a perfectly blistered, charred crust! (All pizzas created will be vegetarian. Please BYO vegan cheese or meat toppings, if you like.)

Erin Merhar is a professionally trained chef with more than 15 years of experience in restaurants and food media. An avid sourdough baker, her obsession with pizza started at home during the infamous year of 2020, and quickly evolved to be the center of pop-up events at restaurants across Birmingham. She trained at the Institute of Culinary Education (formerly The French Culinary Institute) in New York City, cooked at Maialino restaurant, and spent time honing her craft in kitchens, private homes and at Agriturismi (farm stays) across Italy. Most recently, she’s worked for major food media brands as a test kitchen and food director. She is a co-chair of the Birmingham Bakers, an organization that hosts charity bake sales to raise funds for social justice initiatives. On the weekends, you’ll find her at the farmer’s markets or perfecting neapolitan-style pizzas in her backyard.