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Scholars & Scones: Toys and Times of Willard Watson

February 28 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


For generations Appalachian people found their livelihoods in the forest. My family, the Watsons of Deep Gap, North Carolina, are no exception. In this talk, I will investigate the toy making style of my great-grandfather Willard Cline Watson, and show how he used creativity in a traditional art form to validate his youth. Watson was: a mountaineer, toy carver, dancer, banjo picker, moonshiner, raconteur, and a man that “can’t hardly be whipped by a piece of wood.”  This lecture will look at Willard’s life, folk art, and legacy.

Originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina, Willard moved to Boone in 2008, but his roots run deep in Watauga County. He has a Masters in Appalachian Studies with a concentration on Sustainability and a Bachelors of Science in Sustainable Development both from Appalachian State University. Since 2010 Willard has been an active member of the High Country community through volunteerism and event planning. He has worn many hats in the area such as co-chair of the Doc & Rosa Lee Watson Music Fest ‘n Sugar Grove, community outreach specialist for Sustain Appalachian, and events manager for Center 45 Climbing & Fitness. His great-grandfather and namesake, Willard Watson I, was a well-known toy carver, moonshiner, and dancer.


Free for members, $5 for nonmembers.



Blowing Rock Art & History Museum
159 Ginny Stevens Lane
Blowing Rock, NC 28605 United States
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We welcome submission of Western North Carolina events focused on our heritage themes of mountain music, crafts, foodways, outdoors and Cherokee culture. Please submit two weeks in advance.

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