Reading With Dolly Parton, Repairing Old Carpets And Learning To Embroider

Our first stop this week is in Charleston, West Virginia where we’re sitting down with the inimitable Dolly Parton. She recently visited W.Va. to celebrate her children’s book program, Imagination Library. We’ll also talk to the owner of a Charleston abattoir who developed a butchering apprenticeship program.

Then, we’ll head down to Kingsport, Tennessee where Jerry Machen is making art from old rugs. And in Berea, Kentucky we’ll hear about a group of teens learning the ancient craft of embroidery and how it has been used for decades to empower women.

All that and more this week as we journey Inside Appalachia.

In This Episode:

An Evening with Dolly: Celebrating the Imagination Library

Dolly Parton is an acclaimed singer/songwriter, actor, pop culture icon, but did you know that she is also a noted philanthropist? Parton recently visited Charleston, West Virginia to celebrate the statewide participation in her childhood literacy program, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. She began the program in 1995 with the goal of putting books into the hands of children. To date, West Virginia children have received 3.7 million books, at no charge to their families, through the program. During her visit, Parton spoke with WVPB Executive Producer Suzanne Higgins about Imagination Library and its expansion in the state.

Buzz’s Butcher Apprenticeship

Buzz Apprenticeship

The last two years — through breakdowns at processing plants and distribution bottlenecks — have shown how fragile our food supply chain can be. That’s why Buzz Food Service in Charleston is trying to create a new model for locally raised meat. The problem: Buzz needs butchers, a scarcity across the country. The solution: an apprenticeship program. Folkways reporter Zack Harold has the story; he also produced a short documentary about Buzz’s program, which can be viewed above.

Repairing Old Carpets In Kingsport, Tennessee

Agape Rugs

We seldom think about who makes household items like rugs — or where to turn when they need repaired. One man in Kingsport, Tennessee has been building and repairing carpets and rugs for over 50 years. For Jerry Machen, Sr., business not only provides a livelihood, but also an outlet for expressing creativity and an opportunity for discovery. Folkways reporter Nicole Musgrave has the story; she also produced a short documentary about Machen’s artwork, which can be viewed above.

Learning About Embroidery And Empowerment In Kentucky

In Berea, Kentucky, a group of teens is participating in an apprenticeship program to learn the ancient craft of embroidery — and how it’s been used for decades to empower women. WEKU’s Cheri Lawson spent time at the School of Needlework for Disobedient Women and has this report.


Our theme music is by Matt Jackfert. Other music this week was provided by Doctor Turtle, Aaron Copeland, Zach Byrd and Dolly Parton

Bill Lynch is our producer. Alex Runyon is our associate producer. Our executive producer is Eric Douglas. Kelley Libby is our editor. Our audio mixer is Patrick Stephens. Zander Aloi also helped produce this episode. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram @InAppalachia.

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Inside Appalachia is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting.