Bill Lynch, Mason Adams, Kelley Libby, Zander Aloi, Margaret McLeod Leef, Wendy Welch, Zack Harold Published

Folkways Highlights Of 2023, Inside Appalachia

Three handmade face jugs.
Face jugs created by Shinnston, West Virginia potter Ed Klimek.
Zack Harold/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Since 2019, Inside Appalachia has brought you stories from our Folkways Reporting Project

Folkways was created to boost awareness of Appalachian folk traditions and how they’re passed between people. In 2023, we added 25 stories to our growing archive that explore diverse arts, culture, food and people of Appalachia. 

This week, look back at some of the past year’s Folkways highlights. 

In This Episode:

Flat Five Studios Fame And Future

A black and yellow shirt hang on a wall. Next to them is a sign that reads, "Hippies Use Side Door."
Flat Five merchandise hangs in the recording studio. Flat Five Studio in Virginia made a big splash in the 1990s. Now, it’s looking to the future and a new generation.

Credit: Mason Adams/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Flat Five Studio was a small recording studio in Salem, Virginia. For years, the studio thrived recording local bands and a lot of bluegrass acts. Then, the Dave Matthews Band in eastern Virginia began looking for a quiet place to record its first album.

Host Mason Adams brought us this story. 

Mushroom Hunting In VA And WV

A finger points to a close up of a single chanterelle mushroom growing in the wilde.
A single, ancient chanterelle on the forest floor proved to be the only mushroom found the day of the hunt.

Credit: Wendy Welch/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Wild food foraging has been a staple of Appalachian folk culture for generations. In recent years, mushroom hunting has taken off with fungi enthusiasts heading to the woods to seek out their favorites.

Folkways Reporter Wendy Welch spent time with some of them in Virginia and West Virginia and brings us this story. 

Taxidermy In Yadkin County

A young woman works on a taxidermy bobcat.
Taxidermist Amy Ritchie is sharing the love of her craft with other enthusiasts.

Credit: Margaret McLeod Leef/West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A lot of people are fascinated by the results of taxidermy — whether it’s a stuffed skunk on display at a park’s visitor’s center, or a big buck on a friend’s wall. The preservation and mounting of dead animals have been around since at least the middle ages.

Folkways Reporter Margaret McLeod Leef has the story of one expert practitioner in Yadkin County, North Carolina.

A Family Connection To Face Jugs

You’ve probably seen pottery with a face on it somewhere. There are lots of examples of this type of art out there — from cheap souvenir shop knick-knacks to museum-quality pieces that can sell for millions of dollars.

Some are connected to African Face Jugs, an art that enslaved people brought with them to America.

Folkways Reporter Zack Harold traced the story of face jugs, beginning in the basement pottery studio of West Virginia artist Ed Klimek.    

A face jug.
African Face Jugs came to America through Slavery. Artist Jim McDowell uses the art form to speak about the African American experience.



Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by The Dirty River Boys, Noam Pikelny, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Carpenter Ants and Allan Cathead Johnston.

Bill Lynch is our producer. Zander Aloi is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.