Appalachia Celebrating Appalachia Videos John C. Campbell Folk School

Meet Richard Carter, traditional wood carver

Richard Carter

I recently interviewed my dear friend Richard Carter. I’m sharing the video in today’s post.

Richard and I discussed his life in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. He has been a traditional wood carver and part of the famed Brasstown Carvers for over 40 years.

I hope you enjoyed meeting Richard. He, and the Brasstown Carvers, were featured on the Bitter Southerner website this week. To see the article go here.


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  • Reply
    Allison B
    September 5, 2020 at 1:34 pm

    Very much enjoyed your video visit with Mr. Carter and hearing his ‘talk’. Inspirational. Noticed the nice background-noises…phone ring, cows moo, and many others… as the two of you were sitting on the porch talking. Very Appalachia. Going to look at the article that you mentioned.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    September 4, 2020 at 11:35 pm

    Sorry I’m late getting here. I fell and busted my head open today. I didn’t think it was too bad but Dusty was here and made me go to the doctor. I ended up with seven stitches in the top of my noggin.
    Richard Carter and I are the same age. Our parents moved out of the mountains to find work in the 40s. Her to Gastonia and him to Indian Trail. I’m not sure where they met but they were married in Swain County. They left the city life for a two room shack up at the head of Wiggins Creek. It was a hard life but they were free and independent. They could have gone back to the Charlotte area at any time. They had friends and relatives they who urged them to do just that. Boy am I glad they didn’t. I wouldn’t have been me if they had. As a matter of fact. I might not have been at all. When Harold was born Doctor Bacon told Mommy she shouldn’t have another child. She listened and she didn’t, she had five.
    Neither of my parents live past fifty five. Their years together were not easy. Daddy fought and scratched to maintain his farm and work whatever “public” work was available. Mommy raised a garden and canned everything she could get her hands on.
    Daddy had a heart attack in 1974 while working on a bridge on Hazel Creek in the Smokies. He made it across the lake and was taken to a hospital but died suddenly a week later. Mommy didn’t know how to live without him and in October of 1975 she died too. Mommy was as strong willed a woman as any I know but she believed that when they married they became as one and without him she was nothing. So she went to be with him. It wasn’t as if she had a hand in her ending but she just gave up and let death overtake her. So they are one again!
    My wife has gone ahead too but I have to stay. I have two children I have to take care of until they can take care of themselves. So, back to what happened to me today. I fell and hit my head on a trailer tongue. I knew I wasn’t seriously hurt but was bleeding pretty badly. Dusty panicked! I had to calm him down before I could attend to my wound. Things like that are the reason why I need to stay here just a little bit longer!

    • Reply
      aw griff
      September 5, 2020 at 7:31 am

      Glad you are alright Ed. I know something of what you spoke of for I have to help with a Grandson.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    September 4, 2020 at 1:56 pm

    I listened to this interview the other day and couldn’t help but feel sorry for him losing his Wife. I’m glad that he has an easier job now than the many he had in the past.
    Tipper, I’m going to blame it on you for listening to accents, pronouncing of words, and sayings. Actually I think I always done that but am more aware of it now. Mr. Carter said (hep) for help. Hep is a word I don’t hear as often as I used to. Mom and Dad both said hep and there is at least a couple at church that still do.
    Carving is one of those arts I have no talent for. My Wife had a cousin that was really good at carving and painting birds. Leslie Stapleton would have been known far and wide if he hadn’t died an untimely death.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    September 4, 2020 at 12:06 pm

    Ralph Hardin, Dillard Hardin and Eunice’s boy, Carl’s brother, was a good Fisherman, but was an Excellent Carver of Roosters. He had them all over the house, but the one’s he made were mostly out of Laurel. Ralph was much older than Me and Harold, but he invited us into his house one time. I was more interested in the pictures hanging just outside the Hallway. It was Big Pictures of his sisters, all Blondes and all were Beautiful. Ralph and Carl had a bunch of sisters. Bitsy was Sam Webb’s wife . He taught me Driver’s Education and taught my oldest girl 21 years later.

    Ralph was an Excellent cook too, when we would go to Horsepasture , and spent the rest of a week at White Water, Me and Harold would clean the fish and Ralph would Cook. One time Daddy went with us and while we were at Horsepasture, Daddy pulled a trick on his buddy, Ted McLean. After he had got a cup of coffee, he poured gobs of salt in the coffee pot when Ralph wasn’t looking. Old Ted came by and got him a cup and started Frowning. He told Ralph he couldn’t make coffee atall, and Daddy just grinned. Everyone is gone now, including my Hero, Harold. …Ken

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 4, 2020 at 11:16 am

    Tipper, I so enjoyed this interview, Richard is like a kindred spirit to our values and beliefs. I have known something of the Brasstown Carvers through Chitter. I’ve marveled at her collection of carvings of the Brasstown Carvers that she has collected. I’ve also been with Chitter to the big market when she was searching for carvings from our local carvers to buy.
    It’s also nice to hear Richard talk about the beginnings, both his and the Brasstown Carvers. It is, I’m afraid, a dying art. The only thing I see the young folks hold lovingly in their hands and pay loving attention to is their cell phone. I don’t mean to be critical, it’s just another time and another generation!
    A big thanks to Richard for sharing with us!

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    September 4, 2020 at 10:30 am

    Enjoyed hearing Richard’s interview. It’s humbling and wholesome and satisfying to hear about his life. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    September 4, 2020 at 9:19 am

    Once again, good job. They don’t come any better than Richard. He is doing a great thing for the Folk School and your interview helps a lot of people know about him, his work and what a wonderful person he is.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Wonderful interview, seems like one could learn more than carving listening to Mr. Carter.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    September 4, 2020 at 8:53 am

    I don’t think it is unique to Appalachia, more of a country thing, but Richard is one of those who has “turned his hand to” many things in his lifetime. My Dad was like that. People who cope with tough economic conditions have to do ‘gettin by’ and ‘makin do’ things. But they can because they grew up learning to be ‘handy’. There are many different versions of Richard’s story in Appalachia that in sum are its (dare I say unique?) post-WWII history.

    You and Richard are both soft-spoken. I suspect that is an Appalachian characteristic, though I have never heard of that or read it. I’m thinking that it is both a matter of courtesy and a sympathetic harmony with natural sounds; that is, a dis-inclination to conflict with them.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    September 4, 2020 at 7:52 am

    Mr. Carter is a perfect representative for Appalachian art wood carving! I can bet with 100 percent accuracy his creations are beautiful! I would also dare to say his wood carving fetches a right fair price too! It’s impressive all the folk things the Folk School brings to the people!!! What a joy to be a part of it, Miss Tipper and Mr. Carter!!! Maybe one day you could do a tour of the arts and crafts unique to the school!!!What eye candy that would be! God bless all as fall is rolling in!!!! I love the cool air. PRAY FOR AMERICA AS SEPTEMBER IS A PRAYER MONTH!!! She needs all of our prayers like never before!!! Power to the people!!!

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