Eastern Kentucky is the most beautiful part of the state – and the most poor. Ravaged first by the lumber industry and then coal mining, the land and its people are surprisingly resilient. When visitors come to Kentucky and want to understand the state, I drive them east into the mountains.
It’s also an area rich with a cultural heritage in art, music and furniture making. And for the last 50 years, Appalshop has been recording all aspects of the culture with fascinating short films.
During the pandemic, Appalshop has made all of its videos on its streaming platform free to rent. This is a remarkable chance to browse and watch the organization’s films from the 1970s to the present day.
You can see all the videos available here. To rent them for free, click the “apply promo code” link at checkout and enter: watchparty.
Of special interest to woodworkers: Watch “Hand Carved,” the fantastic film about chairmaker Chester Cornett. Also, check out “Chairmaker,” a film about Dewey Thompson and his rocking chairs. There are also films about quilting, bluegrass, coal mining, hip hop in the mountains, and civil rights.
If you find films you like, they are inexpensive to purchase, usually about $5. And it helps support a great organization.
— Christopher Schwarz
11 thoughts on “A Free Trip to Eastern Kentucky”
And Herchel House of Kentucky – an artisan in his own right. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGpa_SkxmvI
If anybody’s looking for a book to read, I’m a third of the way through of Hillbilly Elegy, and I’m enjoying it. It’s principally memoir, but the author gives some context on the culture of eastern Kentucky and the movement of people out of eastern Kentucky into Ohio for industrial jobs. The author is from Jackson, KY/Middletown, OH, which puts Cincy/Covington squarely in the middle.
Thanks Chris. Really enjoyed the one about Chester Cornett. Will be watching some others.
Holy crap!….This is Awesome….donation to these folks is on its way…thank you for the heads up
Wow. John Jacob Niles, Hazel Dickens, Ralph Stanley…
Thanks for the heads-up.
wonderful stuff…..thanks for letting all of us know about this………..no sure I would ever found out about is on my own………..be well y’all………..
On the deep dark hills of Eastern Kentucky ….
After I saw your twitter note I signed up. This one on Cornett was the first one I watched. Pretty magical.
The VHS version of “Hand Carved” is about 30 minutes longer then their new improved version…
I really appreciated the visit! Thanks to the earlier mentions of that story on this blog, I was able to follow through the appalachian accent! The picture with the ultra long hickory bark strips was spectacular.
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