Folklife

Caitlin Tan

Peanut butter stouts, guava sours, hazy double IPAs, pomegranate ales – these are just a few experimental beers to come out of the craft beer craze in recent years.

According to the National Brewer’s Association, this expanding industry started in the 1990s but didn’t gain momentum until 2010, making it relatively new. Today there are more than 7,000 commercial breweries in the country.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Jeremy Farley is a self-taught expert on Appalachian storytelling.  He grew up in Wythe County, Virginia, and is the founder of Appalachian Magazine. Jeremy is also one of 10 new reporters with the Folkways Reporting Corps. Inside Appalachia host, Jessica Lilly, recently sat down with Jeremy to talk about Appalachian Magazine, and his new position on the team. We hear part of that conversation.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Inside Appalachia host Jessica Lilly is directing a new initiative to expand our arts and cultural reporting throughout central Appalachia, and helping her is our new reporter, Caitlin Tan. The two sat down to talk about what Caitlin has discovered during her first few months of living here and reporting on folklife for Inside Appalachia.

Caitlin Tan

Greasy pepperoni rolls, pungent ramps, sweet apple butter, shaggy Big Foot, scruffy Mothman – these are all symbols that represent West Virginia. Local treasures that began from traditions and legends from long ago that are getting a modern flare, thanks to a graphic design artist in Morgantown.

Liz Pavlovic’s business “Liz Pavlovic Design and Illustrations” recreates West Virginia’s mementos with an endearing modern, cartoonish flare.


Caitlin Tan / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

In this week’s episode of Inside Appalachia, we explore how our cultural traditions change over time and evolve as they get passed from person to person.

 

How does foklife fit into our already busy, and frankly, quite stressful lives?

“Henry Glassie, another folklorist, says that folklore is the creation of the future out of the past. So in order to know where we're headed, we have to know about these traditions in the past,” explained West Virginia state folklorist Emily Hilliard.


Caitlin Tan

Walking down the streets of Greensboro, Pennsylvania, it feels a bit like a ghost town. There are houses, business signs, a post office, but only two cars drive by in 10 minutes and no one is walking the streets.

The small town in southern Pennsylvania is just across the West Virginia border. It sits on the banks of the Monongahela River, surrounded by small hills and patches of trees. In years past, the town has weathered the boom and bust of a pottery industry, river trade and coal. Lately, it has been more bust than boom.

Jesse Wright

Across the Atlantic Ocean -- 3,586 miles away from West Virginia -- you will find Wales, which is part of the United Kingdom. The western side of Wales is lined by two channels from the Celtic Sea. And inland is quite mountainous. Within those mountain towns, you will find similar folk culture to Appalachia.

“The nature of the people and the landscape is very similar. Plus, many people from West Wales came over here. So we’ve got those really strong connections,” said Peter Stevenson, a Welsh artist, writer and storyteller.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, there’s only one high school in Preston County. But there used to be many, and the sports rivalry and team spirit at each school were strong.

Former students from the original schools banded together to create the Preston County Sports Museum, to help memorialize the sports league of years past. It’s the only one of its kind in the state.

Inside Appalachia folklife reporter Caitlin Tan visited the museum and spoke with a brother and sister who graduated from one of the schools in the 1950s.

Jesse Wright

The tall, red brick building that was once home to Rowlesburg High School still stands after surviving the historic 1985 flood.

After the flood it was no longer used as a school, but today it remains the heart of the community of Rowlesburg – it's where people meet, festivities are held, weekly dinners are made, etc.

"Inside Appalachia" folklife reporter, Caitlin Tan, interviews Folkways Corps Reporter Heather Niday during an exercise at a recent "Inside Appalachia Folkways Reporting Project" training.
Eric Douglas / WVPB

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Public Broadcasting has launched a new program that will help support journalists as they tell the real stories of Appalachians and expand the focus of its award-winning "Inside Appalachia" radio and podcast program to include even more emphasis on folklife, arts and culture, announced Chuck Roberts, executive director and CEO of West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, it’s not every day you meet someone who’s turned their hobby into their livelihood, and that they still pursue it with passion.

But Jane Gilchrist was that person. She was a hand weaver in Harrison County who turned her love of fabrics into a business. She was able to preserve a craft that hadn’t been a necessity since the pioneer days in Appalachia.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, a new apprenticeship program through the West Virginia Folklife Program is helping connect apprentices with master traditional artists in West Virginia. We heard from several of these folklorists in a recent episode of Inside Appalachia called Appalachia’s Folkways: Handmade and Passing it On. Roxy Todd has a story about how one of the people involved in the apprenticeship program is learning old-time fiddle music.

Caitlin Tan

Families all across the world pass on traditions and it is no exception in Appalachia.

Traditions like making apple butter in the fall, or celebrating Christmas morning at mamaws, or picking ramps at that secret spot in the spring, or even just going to church on Sunday.

But for one family in Lincoln County, West Virginia, the tradition is building furniture.


Caitlin Tan

See a recipe for salt rising bread at the bottom of this page. 

Salt Rising bread has a long history in Appalachia. Typically, people outside of the region have never heard of it.

The bread often brings to mind a variety of distinctive scents and grandmothers tending to a time-intensive dough in a wood-heated kitchen.

Caitlin Tan

Editor's Note: It is with great sadness to report that Jane Gilchrist passed away Friday, March 8, 2019. The West Virginia Public Broadcasting team offers its deepest sympathies and condolences to Jane's family and friends. Click here for Jane's obituary.

Most Americans typically wear clothes made in factories overseas. The same goes for fabrics in homes, such as potholders, rugs and blankets. But it has not always been this way.

Jesse Wright

Around the holidays, homemade treats are everywhere — whether it be Christmas cookies, gingerbread houses or fruit cakes. One Swiss holiday tradition involves making Rosettes — light, crispy, deep-fried pastries made using a floral-shaped iron mold.

Just in time for the holidays, Inside Appalachia takes a trip down memory lane with two family businesses in West Virginia with deep cultural traditions. Join host, Jessica Lilly, as she talks with broom maker James Shaffer and grist man, Larry Mustain, about what the future holds for their business and for them.

Jesse Wright/ WVPB

On this special Halloween episode of Inside Appalachia, we’re doing something a little bit out of the ordinary for us—we’re suspending our disbelief.

Telling and retelling stories is part of our Appalachian tradition. Long before TV or the Internet came along, a well-told tale was often how our ancestors entertained each other and kept the crisp chill at bay as the darkness of winter approached. 


Emily Hilliard/ WV Folklife Program

Eighty-seven year-old Jim Shaffer has had his hands busy since 1946. He is the last commercial broom-maker left in West Virginia. People from all over the country have come to see, and take home, some of Shaffer’s work.

A short film about Jim Shaffer is being screened at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress later this month at an event called "Reel Folk: Cultural Explorations on Film". The video was produced earlier this year by Inside Appalachia, in collaboration with the West Virginia Folklife Program

Ohio Farmer Seeks Easing of Land Use Regulations

Jan 26, 2017
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning, The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant has been talking with coal miners and hunters about the Trump presidency, this morning she talks with a farmer.

That’s on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting – telling West Virginia’s story.

Augusta Begins This Weekend in Elkins

Jul 3, 2015
West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On West Virginia Morning we explore the history of the Augusta Heritage Center just as the summer workshop series begins this weekend.  Also, Roseanne Cash is featured in our Mountain Stage Song of the Week.  That's on West Virginia Morning from West Virginia Public Broadcasting...telling West Virginia's story.

Here's the History of the Augusta Heritage Center

Jul 3, 2015
Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Augusta begins this weekend.  This very popular series of summer workshops about music and crafts has been explored by a student working on her master's thesis.  Brittany Hicks graduated from Appalachian State University in May of 2014.  Her thesis was titled "Exploring Nostalgia for the Future: A History of the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, West Virginia."   Just as the busy five week series kicks off, she sat down with us to find out what she learned.