OFN’s New Funding Partner:

A big shout out to the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) for their generous, two-year contribution totaling $30,000. While OFN receives grant funding through two other statewide partners, OHS is the first to provide unrestricted funding through a non-competitive process. This partnership commits OFN and OHS to various programmatic support, resource sharing, and cross-promotions. Watch for folklife articles by our staff and students in the Oregon Historical Quarterly.

You can now find the OHS logo among our sponsorship recognitions. Enjoy our joint projects like traveling exhibits or pubic programs in your local historical societies around the state.

We are so excited to see where this collaboration will take us into future, and grateful for the much-needed funding from our cultural partner, OHS. Please join us in celebrating the Oregon Historical Society and plan a visit to their facility next time you’re in Portland. Their event calendar is packed with exciting, educational opportunities, and with your annual OHS membership receive FREE UNLIMITED ADMISSION to all of their regular exhibits, discounts on special events and much, much more!

New Results, Folk & Traditional Arts Survey in Southern Oregon

LuAnne Kozma, project fieldworker

Lake and Klamath Counties

The Oregon Folklife Network’s Southern Oregon Folklife Survey got off to a start this past November in Klamath and Lake counties. Arriving in Portland by train from the Midwest, I drove south, crossing the snowy Cascade Mountains to Klamath Falls to begin meeting with people and documenting folk and traditional artists and their celebrations, crafts, occupations, and music. I immediately fell in with the Klamath Country Square and Round Dance club and joined Cece and Sarge Glidewell’s round dance lessons at a local church. Later in the week I returned for a Thursday night square dance where caller Larry Sprout sang out dance calls to popular songs.

Food traditions are alive and well in southern Oregon and a great way to find out more about various cultural groups. Early one morning that same week, I arrived at Laila Griffith’s house to observe the Sons of Norway women’s group making lefse, a traditional Norwegian potato flatbread. Each year, the group gathers to make hundreds of lefse for their annual holiday sale. A few days before, team of University of Oregon graduate students and OFN executive director, Riki Saltzman, joined me at Laila’s for a lefse tasting and cookie baking session, one of several the field experiences we shared [see article below for more on that].

Laila Griffith makes krumkake, one of many kinds of traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies, in her Klamath Falls home.
I was also able to meet Linda Romero, who makes traditional Mexican pan dulce at her La Perla Bakery. Linda shared her knowledge about cake making and pan dulce or sweet breads.

In Lake county, I stopped in at Lakeview Locker to hear about the owners’ weekly barbeques and sausage-making. The annual Methodist Church’s Harvest Dinner provided me with the opportunity to taste more local food as well as to meet folks and get leads for future interviews.

Natural Resources and Leisure Traditions
Southern Oregon is blessed with stunning scenery, fish, and game. Klamath Falls’ natural resources and a vibrant hunting and fishing culture are what drew Mark Kelley and John Kruger to the area. Both shared their wisdom and skill at making tied flies for fly fishing.

Occupational Folklore
Ranching traditions range from foodways to occupational lore. Ranch hand Larry Morgan of Lakeview showed me his exquisite leather braiding skills. Bonanza’s saddle maker, Dave Clowes, talked about the occupational arts of leatherwork and the tools of his trade. Lakeview’s hat artist, Lisa Ackerman, explained how to shape a western hat to fit the wearer; her special community niche is to provide hats and hat shaping services at roundups and other events.

Bootmaker and shoe repairer Mike Purves, who learned shoe making from his father and now teaches the trade to his son and grandchildren, shared his “tricks of the trade” at his Klamath Falls shop.

Another occupational group with their own folk traditions are fire fighters. And crew members of the Klamath Falls fire department were generous in sharing their humor, jokes, and stories—all part of how they cope with on-the-job danger, excitement, and boredom. Fire fighters, like police and soldiers, use such verbal arts to entertain each other during downtime and to pass on skills and knowledge to new workmates.

Quilting traditions are strong here. I met and interviewed a tightknit group of quilting “sisters” in Chiloquin—who call themselves the Chiloquilters—and three people who have carved out occupations in the quilting world—Chiloquin long arm quilter Judi Doud and Merrill’s Tater Patch quilt shop owners Robin King and Diane McKoen.

Native Traditions
At the end of the trip I observed the Klamath Tribes’ Annual Veteran’s Day Pow Wow, heard great drum groups, saw wonderful dancers, and talked to local regalia and beadwork makers.

I will return to Klamath and Lake counties this spring to document more folk & traditional artists. Please contact  Riki Saltzman ( 541-346-3820 or riki@uoregon.edu) if you have recommendations for traditions, groups, or individual folk & traditional artists to be documented in Klamath and Lake counties.

OFN’s Southern Oregon Folklife Survey is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk & Traditional Arts program.

Folklore Fieldwork in Klamath County

Em Knott and Julie Meyer, Folklore graduate students

As we drove back over the snowy Cascade Mountain pass that connects Eugene to Southern Oregon, I thought back over the last 24 hours. It had been our—Julie Meyer’s and Em Knott’s—first graduate school fieldwork experience. Under the guidance of OFN Director Riki Saltzman and folklorist LuAnne Kozma, we were able to shadow the beginnings of the OFN project to explore the folklore alive in Southern Oregon.

We observed five interviews in twenty-four hours, although there were two that made the strongest impression. Those were with long-arm quilter Judy Doud (Chiloquin), who invited us back to her log-cabin to view the fourteen-foot machine housed in her basement, and Laila Dahl Griffith, an active participant in the Klamath Sons of Norway. Laila, who makes a huge range of traditional Norwegian Christmas cookies, let us interview and photograph her while she showed us how to make krumkake, thin waffle cookies baked on a specially designed iron. She also made question to us, the graduate students, as to whether we were eating enough while we were at school.

We also had the opportunity to witness a cold-call: between the quilter and the baker, we stopped at a local, family-owned boot shop, walked in, and started making inquiries into the how and the why this man made boots. The next day, we hung out in the Lakeside Landing Café, where we spent a couple of hours with fly-tier John Kruger. Knowing nothing about fly fishing, we looked on in amazement as John talked to us about fly fishing, tied flies, and showed us just some of his vast collection. The various colors and textures were stunning, and the flies themselves were miniature works of art.

Our last stop involved a networking lunch. As we ate our Thai food, we watched as Riki and LuAnne begin to build new relationships within the community, laying down the groundwork to continue the project. That’s when we realized that folklorists are completely at the mercy of people. If our interviewees had not been willing to invite four strangers into their home, we’d be in trouble. We also learned the importance of sociability in fieldwork. We realized how critical it is to build rapport in the span of just a few minutes; this can easily make or break an interview.

Learning such lessons early on made this first foray into folklore fieldwork a success.

Em and Julie are first-year graduate students in the University of Oregon’s Folklore Program

The 2014 Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP)

OFN is now accepting applications for our Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program (TAAP) through March 3, 2014. Traditional artists of exceptional merit qualify for $3,000 grants, which enable them to pass their expertise on to someone of great promise in their cultural community. The master – or mentoring – artist and his or her apprentice apply together as a team and must demonstrate how traditional their art form is, how significant it is to the community they share, how strong their ties are to that cultural community, and the excellence of the quality of their work based on work samples, like images, videos, support letters, and press.

DEADLINE: Applications must be received in our office by 5 pm, MARCH 3, 2014—NO EXCEPTIONS. Please download a fillable application form at the OFN Website. OFN staff are available to advise applicants and even help fill out applications. Please contact us first if you think you might want to apply. And visit our website, or contact Bruno Seraphin (ofn@uoregon.edu, 541-346-3820) for more information about the program and previous TAAP master artists.

OFN’s Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program is funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Folk & Traditional Arts program.