Saturday, September 13, 2008

Art & Music Abound on Ocracoke Island

Painting by Ocracoke Art Walk Participant Barbara Adams

How could so many talented people live on Ocracoke? It boggles the mind, and never more so than when they get together and show off…

Photograph by Mary Haggarty of Ocracoke Photo

Ocracoke painters, bird carvers, photographers, quilters and other artisans will be sharing their creativity and craftsmanship in the 5th Annual Art Walk on September 27th.

Over 25 Ocracoke artists and craftsmen are participating in the Art Walk. Visit galleries, workshops and studios during this free event Saturday, September 27th from 9am – 5pm.

New this year is an opening reception on Friday night to meet the artists and the Art Walk organizers. It will be held at the Ocracoke Community Center from 6–8pm and includes refreshments. Live music will be provided by local band Baby Dee and the Free Moustache Rides Again. Formed earlier in 2008, Baby Dee also performed at the Ocrafolk Festival and at island fundraisers this summers. Lead singer Bob Ray is also a mixed media artist, whose work will be on display at Secret Garden Gallery.

There are 17 different stops on this year’s Art Walk, including the Ocracoke Community Center, which will also serve as an information booth. Maps are available at all artist locations, and Hyde County Transit will provide shuttle bus service throughout the village. Participating artists will be easy to find – bright yellow “Art Walk Participant” signs will be placed in front of their shops and studios.

Photograph by Susse Wright

Some of our favorite artists are a part of the Art Walk:

Kitty Mitchell, who is more talented than a person should be allowed to be, will be showing her recent paintings at Deepwater Theater.

Painting by Kitty Mitchell

Mary Bassell, Barbara Adams, Ann Ehringhaus and Elizabeth Parsons, who’ve all contributed a design for the Ocrafolk Festival t-shirt, will be participating in the Art Walk.

Painting by Elizabeth Parsons

Ann Ehringhaus is also the official photographer of the Ocrafolk Festival, taught the photography class at last year’s Ocrafolk School, and volunteers as one of the Art Walk organizers. Judith Saunders’s basketry will be on display at the Community Center, and we’re happy to say she’s also teaching a basketry course again this year at the Ocrafolk School.

Judith Sauders' basketry

Ocracoke Goes Hollywood!

Diane and Richard who??? Forget about seeing “Nights In Rodanthe” for those big name stars! Here on Ocracoke we’re all excited to see ourselves on the big screen. The movie, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks, was filmed on location on Hatteras Island, employing folks from both islands as extras.

But the really big news is that Ocrafolk’s own Katy Mitchell, Jule Garrish, Marcy Brenner, Lou Castro, Kevin Hardy, and Jubal Creech were all selected to play and sing as the “Storm Party Band” in the movie, which opens in theaters September 26th. None of them is sure yet about how much screen time they’ll get, but we do know that Katy and Jule’s songs were chosen for the soundtrack CD along with music from lesser-known contributors Emmy Lou Harris and Count Basie.

The local folks who helped out with the movie, including Gary Mitchell, who was hired as music coordinator, are all invited to the Outer Banks Premiere on September 24th in Kill Devil Hills. Word has it that Diane Lane and Richard Gere will miss the party, but who cares, when we have Katy and Jule?

For all the best in recordings by Ocracoke's musicians visit!

Ocrafolk School Offers Workshops October 26-31, 2008

The Ocrafolk School is open to adult learners of all skill levels who want to explore basketry, island cooking, pottery, watercolor painting or studies in Ocracoke history, seafaring traditions and island ecology – all in a fun and relaxed island atmosphere.

Seafaring Traditions with Captain Rob of the schooner WINDFALL

“The Ocrafolk School offers people a chance to learn something,” says founder and director Gary Mitchell, but he stresses that the focus isn’t “too academic.”

Traditional Ocraocke Square-dance

“I want the week to be more meaningful than just the class. There’s a lot more to a folk school than just learning a craft – it’s about the total experience.”

Philip Howard examines his great-great grandfather's shipwreck log from the 1800s

That total experience includes music, ghost walks, sailing, square-dancing and gathering
together for shared meals (some of which are created by the cooking class.)

Debbie Wells (creator of the Back Porch Restaurant) with the Cooking Class

The Ocrafolk School provides participants with a personal connection to the island, and to enjoy a week of fun and creativity.

Afterhours music with Coyote, Bob Zentz, & Fiddler Dave Tweedie

This is the second year for the Ocrafolk School, which held its grand opening session in October 2007.

New this year are class offerings in watercolor painting with Mary Ellen Golden and pottery with Wes Lassiter and Rhonda Bates.

Mary Ellen, owner of the Golden Gallery in Wilmington, NC, and wife of Ocrafolk performer John Golden, has taught painting classes on location and in her home for thirty years, including workshops for the Wilmington Art Association and the Waterway Art Association.

A watercolor by Ocrafolk Instructor, Mary Ellen Golden

Wes Lassiter and Rhonda Bates own Red Drum Pottery in Frisco, NC, and have the only wood-fired kiln in eastern North Carolina.

The Red Drum Pottery Wood Fired Kiln

Wes is also well-known around these parts as heckuva banjo player, another reason to have him at the Ocrafolk School.

Exploring Ocracoke's Wild Side

Classes are limited to 6-10 students, and the registration deadline is October 1.
The workshops cost $545 (local discount-$325) per week including group meals and evening activities. Housing is the responsibility of the students, but contact the Ocrafolk School for recommendations. Some classes will have additional fees for materials.

Visit for more information or call Gary Mitchell at 252- 928-4280.

Classes offered in the 2008 session:

Basketry: Materials & Techniques ~ Judith Saunders

Island Cooking ~ Debbie Wells

Ocrafolk Sampler:Ocracoke’s History, Seafaring Traditions and Island Ecology ~ Philip Howard,
David Senseney, and Capt' Rob Temple

Vision in Clay: Pottery ~ Rhonda Bates and Wes Lassiter (
New for 2008)

Painting in Watercolor with Grace and Ease ~ Mary Ellen Golden
(New for 2008)

Touring Ocracoke Island with Philip Howard

In Other News, Tropical Storm Hanna Brushes Past Ocracoke

Mariah-Daisy Braves the Storm

Tropical Storm Hanna had minimal impact on Ocracoke – we suffered intermittent and annoying power outages, but no damage to homes or property. The Emergency Management team decided not to announce an evacuation, and although the island was quieter than usual, most businesses stayed open on Friday, and re-opened after the winds died down Saturday morning.

Ocracoke had peak wind gusts of about 59mph, and no reported damage to homes or property. Most of the rain that Hanna brought the coast landed west of us, and there was no soundside flooding or ocean overwash.

These photos were taken around Silver Lake on the morning of September 6th, 2008, while the wind was still gusting about 40mph.

Ocracoke Harbor

Later in the day, the other photos were taken at the National Park Service campground beach.

Ocracoke Beach

At about 5pm, the wind had died down to a tolerable 25-30mph.

We all wish the folks in Texas well as they evacuate for Hurricane Ike.

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