A Community Coverlet


Quilt Presentation, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 1983

Back in the olden days,
(Oh, how I love being able to say that)
 new people moving into Madison County
began a tradition of making and gifting quilts.
For weddings, or new babies, or friendship.
Receiving a quilt meant a certain acceptance.
An embrace.
You were part of the community.
A member of the tribe.

It's a tradition that continues with young people today.
And I think, how rare is that?
Except in places like ours.
Small, close knit, and hands on.

In this photograph Vicki Skemp, aka Vicki Lane, is
thanking her neighbors and friends for the
20th Anniversary Wedding quilt
presented to her and her husband John.
It's a Sister's Choice pattern, 
organized by Vicky Owen and Fay Skemp Uffelman.
It was a potluck day, of course.
This one held at Wayne and Fay Uffelman's farm on Paw Paw Creek.



Appalachia Now

I'm pleased to have one of my photographs on the cover of this new Anthology of Appalachian short stories published by Bottom Dog Press. The photograph of Natassia Rae is one in a new series of portraits I'm doing of some of the young people who have come into our lives over the last few years. This is a dual honor for me - having my work associated with this wonderful group of authors and an exceptional small press, and, the opportunity to spend time with an amazing group of people far younger than I. 

Appalachia Now

Short Stories of Contemporary Appalachia

Editors: Larry Smith and Charles Dodd White

Just Out ~ June 2015

Authors: Darnell Arnoult, Rusty Barnes, Matt Brock, Taylor Brown, Chris Holbrook, David Joy, Marie Manilla, Charles Dodd White, Mesha Maren, Carrie Mullins, Chris Offutt, Mark Powell, Jon Sealy, Savannah Sipple, Jacinda Townsend,  Meredith Sue Willis

Appalachia Now is an essential and necessary collection of stories. For too many, the people of Appalachia are little more than stereotypes. Appalachia Now undoes that injustice by representing the real people of Appalachia today without forgetting that we can’t help but be shaped by our geography. Appalachia is as much a character here as are any of these diverse, complex, troubled characters. This collection is a delving—an invitation into a world often represented by pop culture, but seldom as authentically nor as skillfully as by the writers herein. ~Jeff Vande Zande

“The geologic entry to the Appalachian foothills… had a foreboding quality, a warning to travelers that the world beyond was very different.” So states Chris Offutt in his story, “Back Porch.” His and other stories collected in Appalachia Now serve to hammer the point home like a coal miner’s pick or a fist to the jaw.” ~Christina Lovin

178 pgs. $17 from us direct.

 *This book is a follow-up to the best selling Degrees of Elevation anthology published by Bottom Dog Press in 2010.

  • $17.00



Jamie Paul, in my studio, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2013

It's a rare thing when a person enters your life who profoundly influences you toward new thinking and action. When that happens in one's later years, with the tendency to become fixed in our ways, it's even better. And when the person is young, more than half your age, that's the sweetest of all.

I'm not going to list the details. To do so would make this an extra long post and one of the things Jamie keeps hammering in my head is to keep these ramblings of mine short. The secret is in the edit. 

Thank you, Jamie.

Oh, yes, jamiepaulmusic.com


Jamie at Old Ground Farm, Big Pine, Madison County, NC, 2013


SS #4


SS #4, PawPaw.

There were many times in my career, applying for grants or fellowships, when I would make color transparencies of my black & white prints.  The slides offered the opportunity to blow the images up to giant size on the wall or screen and also to throw the projected image in and out of focus to see what the abstraction might resemble. I loved watching the picture move from sharp to blur and back sharp again, the scene changing from two-dimensional reality to streaks of light and dark.

These screen shots I've been posting the last few weeks are similar to the others in their desire to leave the realm of the known.


Living Portrait Series- Kelsey Green Part 3


The Asheville Citizen-Times continues its Living Portrait Series look at my friend, Kelsey Green. Here is the link to the Citizen-Times website: This week I've included the whole piece on my blog instead of simply linking to the Asheville Citizen-Times, but that link is: 


Kelsey Herding the Sheep to the Barn for Worming, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2014

I have a strong drive. And I think my mom was a big influence in this. When you say you’re going to do something, you’ve got to do it. You’ve got to pursue it. It’s something I might be good at, but it’s also something I’ve been working on for a long time, doing the things that I say I’m going to do from start to finish. See things through. It’s something I struggle with as well. If I have a dream or a vision and I feel in my heart that’s where I’m supposed to be, that’s my destiny, then that’s what I’m going for and that’s why I am where I am.

The first time Tommy and I connected we were sitting on a rock behind his house and I thought he was so cool because he lived in the nasty Redmon house that had no electricity or running water and he was pooping in a bucket. He was considered a “dirty boy.” I thought it was really cool and I thought that’s the direction I want to go. You don’t need running water. You don’t need a flushing toilet. We sat down on a rock one day and told each other what our dreams were and what we aspired to do with our lives and they were very similar. We wanted to be able to grow our own food and be self-sustainable. Live off grid and do whatever it takes and work for it. Work for the things that you need to survive like your food and your water.

We’re both working really hard to make this dream we aspire to become real – it does cost money. The process of buying this raw land, it would almost be easier if the s___  hit the fan and we didn’t have to go to work every day and we joke about that. Sometimes we wish it would hit the fan and we could do barter and trade and work for other people and money wasn’t involved. We could actually make this thing happen more quickly, this vision. But as of right now, it is costing money so we work hard to earn what we need to not only feed ourselves and pay bills, but also to continue to put money into our place to make it so we don’t have to do that. Set ourselves up.

I think in the back of my head I had this vision and it wasn’t as clear as it is now. And going on the road trip and the lessons that I’ve learned have made that vision more clear. And now it’s a picture that I’m trying to paint and I’m in the process of painting that. It’s a twenty-year plan. It’s going to take me twenty years to paint this picture, but in twenty years I’ll get to sit on my porch and look at what I’ve created.

Kelsey Worming Sheep, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 2014


Thank You


PawPaw, 2012.

Yesterday, April 30, marked the end of the most successful month in my website's brief history with over 2,400 unique visits and 4,200 page views. When I first started blogging on this site about 20 months ago, I intended to give it a year and at that time evaluate if it was worth continuing. I wondered if I would be able to sustain the volume of words and pictures and if anyone would choose to read them. That first year is now closing in on year 2 and the words seem to keep flowing. It's been fun for me and I continue to love the process. I've come to believe this is the perfect medium for me. Of course, it wouldn't be possible without you readers and I want to offer my sincere thanks to all of you for your support, comments, and timely corrections.