Sights & Sounds

Harold Mitchell and Dale Morris

If you have attended the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention any time in the last forty years, you will quickly recognize the familiar voice of Galax native Harold Mitchell. Always impeccably …

Sights & Sounds

Garrett Queen and Lana Lambert

Prior to the advent of photocopiers, short run quick print, email, and “social media,” the local letterpress (job-shop) was the primary producer of the vast majority of materials for mass …

Sights & Sounds

Walter Messick and Chris Testerman

The hills of Grayson County, encompassing the small mountain communities around Mt. Rogers, are a veritable hotbed of luthiers—builders of fretted, stringed instruments. Some of America’s finest guitars, mandolins, fiddles, …

Sights & Sounds

Wayne Henderson and Jayne Henderson

Wayne Henderson was born, raised and still lives in tiny Rugby, Virginia in Grayson County. He built his first guitar using traced patterns and the wood from the bottom of …

Sights & Sounds

John Hollandsworth and Sam Gleaves

Patented in 1881 by German instrument repairman Charles Zimmerman, the autoharp first reached popularity in the United States as a novelty instrument. By 1900, by the time the fad had …

Sights & Sounds

Earl and Scottie Blake

Earl Blake. (Peter Hedlund/The Virginia Folklife Program) The Latin roots of the term Carnival mean “farewell to meat,” as Carnival falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of …

Sights & Sounds

Gankhuyag Natsag and Zanabazar Gankhuyag

Tsam is an ancient Buddhist ritual performed by skilled dancers wearing elaborately ornamented costumes and masks. The Tsam was first introduced in Mongolia at the beginning of the eighth century when …

Sights & Sounds

Gail Hobbs-Page and Kyle L. Kilduff

Gail Hobbs-Page was given her first pair of goats as a child growing up on a North Carolina farm. “I loved their milk, and I loved the idea that I …

Sights & Sounds

Remembering Earl Blake: Carnival Costume Master

We are shocked and sad to report the passing of Virginia Folklife Master Artist Earl Blake, who died unexpectedly at his home on Saturday, June 16. A dear friend of …

Sights & Sounds

Randal Eller and Drew Plowman

Southwest Virginia boasts some of the finest makers of stringed instruments in the United States. Much of this is a result of the wide-reaching influence and mentoring of the late …

Sights & Sounds

John Buck and James R. Lumpkins Jr.

The importation and manufacturing of firearms have been part of Virginia’s history since European settlement. The first documented firearms brought to Virginia in 1607 were muskets equipped with matchlocks, snaphances, …

Sights & Sounds

Ubaldo Sanchez and Jorge Cabrera

Alfombras de arracin (rice carpets) are created in Guatemalan cities and villages during Holy Week. Using dyed sawdust, rice, dried beans, and other vegetable materials, teams of artists create a …

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