Craft

Frank Proffitt

Musician and craftsman

Watauga County, NC

Tom Dooley might never have become a household name outside of Northwest North Carolina had it not been for Frank Proffitt. A musician and songwriter from the Pick Britches community in western Watauga County, Proffitt made several contributions to American folk music through performances and recordings, most notably the version of "Tom Dooley" that inspired the Kingston Trio's popular recording in 1958.

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Edd Presnell

Woodworker, toy maker, dulcimer maker

Avery County, NC

Edd Presnell was raised in a musical family and community near Beech Mountain. The area was home to storytellers, ballad singers, banjo pickers, instrument builders, and toy makers. He was particularly interested in woodworking. He first heard a dulcimer when his future wife, Nettie Hicks, came by with an instrument her father, Ben, built. "I was 15 or 16," Presnell recalled, "and Nettie brought the dulcimer over and played it." With help from his future father-in-law, Presnell made his first dulcimer in 1936.

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Frank Proffitt

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Edd Presnell

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Ossie Clark Phillips

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Louise Maney

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Stanley Hicks

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Ossie Clark Phillips

Weaver

Avery County, NC

Ossie Clark Phillips was a weaver most of her life. She was born in 1915, shortly after Dr. Mary Martin Sloop and her husband Dr. Eustace Sloop established the Crossnore School a mile from her home in the mountains of Avery County. When the school opened its weaving program and her mother learned to weave, a new way of life opened for Ossie Clark. "My mama had a loom at home, and I'd slip to her loom when she wasn't there," Ossie said, recalling her own early fascination with weaving. All of the Clark children took a turn at the loom.

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Wilma Hatchett McNabb

Weaver

Cherokee County, NC

Wilma Hatchett McNabb was a native of Cherokee County, North Carolina, and a master of overshot pattern weaving. This type of artistic weaving is performed on a large wooden loom and requires a great deal of technical knowledge, skill, and time to practice. The art was once very common throughout the Southern Appalachian mountains but is rarely found today.

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Louise Maney

Potter

Qualla Boundary (Cherokee), NC

"I was about six or seven when I started doing pottery," Louise Bigmeat Maney said. "When I was a girl growing up, we used to dig our own clay up here near the Macedonia church on the creek bank." She recalled that her older brother "had a sled and a steer, and he'd haul the clay home. And then we'd lay it out on the ground and spread it out and let it dry." After cleaning the clay, they used an old meat grinder to grind it up.

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