Johnnie Ray Francis

Johnnie Ray Francis considers his work in traditional arts to be an integral part of his Native American identity. Once, he remembers, an acquaintance asked him, “’Have you quit building Indian crafts?’ I said, ‘How can you ask the Indian such a thing as that?’”

JohnnyRayFrancis1- resize

Pastor Brenda Peace-Jenkins

“I’m just being obedient to what God has given me to do. He wants me to stay in this section of town, even when these walls get torn down and a new church is built. I have to be in Flint Hill, to help this community.”

Pastor Brenda Peace with husband Linwood- resize

Cameron Eaton

“I always heard music,” says Eaton. “When I was playing, I would hear music chiming in my ear. It was always something that was with me, whether I had an instrument or not.”

CameronEaton

Louis Sachs

With experimentation at home using his own woodworking equipment and further inspiration from the DIY Network, Sachs was soon making a variety of hand-turned bowls in traditional and contemporary forms carved from solid wood, while others are segmented and combine a variety of pieces of wood.

Louis Sachs- resize

Roy Burroughs

Work in Progress is a mixture of traditional hymns and contemporary music, all of which Burroughs arranges meticulously. “Music has always been in me,” he says, “and I suspect it always will be.”

Roy Burroughs- resize

Moka Henry Lynch

Lynch’s pipes are some of his most distinctive work, combining strong figural images on the carved-stone bowls with delicately carved wooden stems. One of his favorite stem designs features a deep double spiral pattern in gleaming exotic wood.

HenryLynch1- resize

Debbie Lou Powell

In her teaching, Powell emphasizes that a quilt-maker can express his or her creativity, as well as be authentically traditional, whether sewing by hand or with a machine.

Debbie Lou Powell resize

Arlene Bice

Arlene Bice’s interest in ghost stories began some years ago, in her native New Jersey, when she and her family members were all visited—independently and unbeknownst to one another—by the same apparition in the old house in which they lived.

ArleneBice - Resize

Hugh Carroll

Hugh Carroll credits his success to his family and to God. “Without them,” he explains, “I could not have done the concerts that I was doing.” The Carroll Family currently includes Hugh, son Russell, daughter-in-law Becky, and grandchildren Bella, Gracie, Lydia, and Olivia.

CarrollFamily - Resize

About the Project

In 2010 and 2011, the North Carolina Folklife Institute—with partners including the Warren County Library and Arts Council, members of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe, and the Concerned Citizens of Tillery—conducted research on the living and historical traditions of Warren, Vance, and Halifax Counties. The project is a chapter of NCFI’s Statewide Heritage Initiative, which has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Resourceful Communities Program of the Conservation Fund.

NCFI folklorists Michael Taylor and Sarah Bryan interviewed dozens of tradition bearers in the three-county region, Taylor working primarily with musicians, and Bryan documenting non-musical traditions. The fieldwork was supplemented by interviews that Taylor conducted in 2009 with Warren County musicians, as part of the New Harmonies exhibit, sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution and the North Carolina Humanities Council. Bryan also researched archival sources of documentation on the area’s folklife traditions. The Haliwa-Saponi Tribe made available interviews conducted in 2010 for the Haliwa-Saponi Arts Documentation Project, which provided important insight for the project as well. Photographer Christopher Fowler made portraits of many of the artists who participated in the project, and photographic documentation of their work. Throughout the research, NCFI received invaluable guidance from community-based advisors, including Sue Loper, former Director of the Warren County Library; Gary Grant, Director of the Concerned Citizens of Tillery; Marty Richardson, of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe; and Jereann Johnson, cofounder of the Heritage Quilters.

Read more ….

The audio recordings, transcripts, photographs, and other materials gathered in the course of this research are archived at the North Carolina Folklife Institute in Durham, and will be archived at the offices of the Haliwa-Saponi Tribe in Hollister and at the Warren County Library in Warrenton as well.

Click here for an electronic copy of this report.

Click here for full-color PDF’s of artist profiles.

Full-color PDFs of artist profiles are available from the North Carolina Folklife Institute. Contact NCFI at (919) 383-6040 or staff@ncfolk.org.