APPALACHIAN CRAFT & CULTURE FELLOW: JOHN POLLY
John Polly was taught basic woodworking skills by his dad at as a young child. He learned a true appreciation of how to work wood with limited tools. From a very early age, Polly learned to utilize available resources, reuse and upcycle with minimal tools to create useful items from wood. Nearly everything he has made was sourced from sawmill lumber or processed from discarded trees. Several furniture pieces in his home as well as custom-built items have been constructed utilizing this process. Polly is also an avid bowl turner made from stock not suitable for lumber.
After retiring from a career working for the FMC Federal prison in Lexington, KY, Polly now pursues his passions for woodworking and community engagement. Recent projects include constructing bunk beds for kids who otherwise sleep on a floor or couch through the First Baptist Church of Jacksboro’s volunteer program, Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Polly also worked closely with the Campbell County Culture Coalition on several projects including a mural in Campbell County Courthouse and outdoor book boxes located throughout the county.
Polly enjoys teaching woodworking basics to adults and kids. After first encountering Arrowmont and learning of the Preserving and Teaching Traditional Appalachian Craft initiative at the 2018 Louie Bluie Festival in Campbell County, Polly participated as an instructor in three ArtReach on the Road events, attended his first National Workshop, and participates as a volunteer at the School.
John Polly is excited to explore traditional hand tools during his Fellowship. “During my Fellowship at Arrowmont I intend to construct wood craft with minimal tools focusing on hand tools, processing and using materials in the traditional methods and techniques. I plan to document each step of the process to preserve the craft.”