No doubt, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, of Appalachian Arts and Crafts is storytelling. Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the region, for centuries native Americans created stories to explain natural phenomena and record important events and times in history. These stories were passed down from generation to generation primarily in oral form. With the arrival of European colonists, storytelling in Appalachia became a written, as well as oral, craft.
The Appalachian Arts and Crafts Center is fortunate to count a master storyteller among our membership. Through her works, Kath Ferring continues the tradition of this craft for the benefit of our patrons, class students and gift shop customers.
Prior to her move to Norris, TN upon retirement, Kath grew up and resided in Massachusetts. From an early age, she says, she was fascinated by good stories and good writers. She credits her plunge into story writing to an “amazing 7th grade English teacher who inspired her to be a better writer.” In fact, her writing career began with short stories she wrote as a schoolgirl. In college, she took a Children’s Literature course, which set her on the path to a Doctorate Degree in Education (E.D.D). Outside of academics, she became a book reviewer for a western Massachusetts newspaper.
Kath began self-publishing her work after an experience with a Knoxville publisher left her feeling the need to have more control over her work and how her books are marketed. She writes story books for young people and poetry for adults. You can find Kath’s books at the AACC Gift Shop. They make great gifts for the readers in your life, both young and older.
In addition to creating her own work, Kath loves to teach the craft to others. She has been teaching writing classes off and on for the past decade. Her students ranged from 8th graders at Norris Middle School, whom she extolled to “create pictures with your words,” to adult students at AACC and college students. She enjoys teaching both memoir writing and story writing and says her primary goals are to encourage people to write and get people to overcome their reluctance to writing.
If you’d like to try writing or are a current writer wanting to improve your craft, be on the lookout for one of Kath’s upcoming classes at AACC.