Craft in America

S13 E1 | FULL EPISODE

HARMONY episode

HARMONY bridges the art forms of music and craft, celebrating the joy of music and the creation of handcrafted instruments. Featuring accordion maker Marc Savoy and the Savoy family, bow maker Susan Lipkins, luthier Doug Naselroad and the Appalachian Artisan Center Culture of Recovery Program, and artist Richard Jolley, whose monumental sculpture inspired a violin concerto.

AIRED: November 04, 2021 | 0:54:36
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

SUSAN: I LOVE BOWS. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED BOWS.

MOST BOW MAKERS DON'T WANT TO MAKE BASS BOWS.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH CURVE.

I WANT TO MAKE THE BEST BOW OUT OF THAT PIECE OF WOOD.

I WANT TO DO IT JUSTICE.

DOUG: APPALACHIA IS A REGION WITH REALLY DEEP MUSICAL ROOTS.

AND THE CRAFTSMANSHIP IS SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD.

RANDY: THE DULCIMER WASN'T A HIGH-CULTURE INSTRUMENT.

IT WAS PLAYED BY PEASANTS,

AND IT WAS, YOU KNOW, JUST A PIECE OF WOOD.

MARC: CAJUNISM. IT'S A WAY OF LIFE,

AND IT'S A VISION.

IT'S A VISION THAT PEOPLE HAVE OF WHO THEY ARE.

ANN: THE ACCORDION AT FIRST

WAS NOT ACCEPTED BY THE CAJUN PEOPLE.

IT WAS VERY LOUD. IT DROWNED OUT THE FIDDLE.

BUT, EVENTUALLY, IT BECAME THE SOUND OF CAJUN MUSIC.

RICHARD: I KNEW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL IMPACT ON THE SPACE,

IT HAD TO HAVE SOLID MASS TO IT.

ARAM: I REALLY FELT DRAWN IN TO THIS WORLD

THAT RICHARD JOLLEY CREATED.

THIS IS BEGGING TO BE TURNED INTO A PIECE OF MUSIC.

TESSA: IT'S INCREDIBLE--

THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF MY SOUL IT SORT OF AWAKENS

LOOKING AT THIS AMAZING WORK.

CAPTIONING MADE POSSIBLE BY CRAFT IN AMERICA, INC.

MARC: AS A YOUNG KID, I WAS VERY INTERESTED

IN THE OLDER PEOPLE.

I LOVED THOSE PEOPLE.

AND I WOULD JUST SIT BY THESE OLD GUYS, YOU KNOW,

AND JUST WATCH THEM PLAY MUSIC, YOU KNOW, ALL NIGHT LONG

AND JUST SOAK IT IN, YOU KNOW, AND SOAK IT IN.

[BOTH SINGING IN FRENCH]

I LOVED THOSE PEOPLE.

AND IF THEY WOULD HAVE PLAYED SAXOPHONES

INSTEAD OF ACCORDIONS, I'D BE PLAYING SAXOPHONES TODAY.

I WANTED TO BE WHAT THEY WERE,

AND I WANTED TO DO WHAT THEY DID.

MARC: CAJUNISM. IT'S A WAY OF LIFE,

AND IT'S A VISION.

IT'S A VISION THAT PEOPLE HAVE OF WHO THEY ARE.

THE FRENCH LANGUAGE IS STILL SPOKEN,

AND THERE'S CAJUN FOOD

AND, OF COURSE, CAJUN MUSIC.

ANN: PRESERVATION OF THE CAJUN CULTURE IS

VERY IMPORTANT TO MARC.

AND HE WANTS TO TRY TO HANG ONTO THAT WORLD

AS LONG AS HE CAN

AND KEEP IT AUTHENTIC.

HE WANTS IT TO REMAIN THIS OLDER CULTURE.

MARC: WHAT A GORGEOUS DAY, HUH?

ANN: OH, MY GOD.

MARC: MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER, MY GREAT-GREAT-GRANDFATHER,

THEY ALL LIVED HERE ON THIS PROPERTY.

YOU KNOW, MY GREAT-GRANDFATHER HAD

A SPINNING WHEEL FACTORY HERE, A COTTON GIN, SAWMILL.

SO I JUST FEEL THEIR SPIRIT WALKING AROUND OUTSIDE.

MY MOTHER AND MY FATHER WOULD SPONSOR

DANCES IN THE HOUSE,

AND THERE WAS NO LESS THAN MAYBE 10 GREAT ACCORDION PLAYERS

IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

BECAUSE MY BRAIN WAS PROGRAMMED

WITH THIS MUSIC FOR SO MANY YEARS,

I JUST PICKED UP THE ACCORDION, AND I PLAYED IT

BECAUSE I HAD SUCH A DESIRE FOR IT, YOU KNOW?

IT WASN'T THAT I FELT LIKE DOING IT.

I NEEDED TO DO IT.

SO WHAT IS THIS THING? IT'S A CAJUN ACCORDION.

WHAT MAKES IT DIFFERENT THAN OTHER INSTRUMENTS?

FOR ONE THING, AN ACCORDION HAS REEDS,

KIND OF LIKE WOOD INSTRUMENTS, LIKE SAXOPHONES AND CLARINETS,

BUT THESE HAVE STEEL REEDS IN THEM.

THAT'S WHY THEY HAVE

SUCH AN INTENSE, AMAZING AMOUNT OF VOLUME.

IT'S KIND OF LIKE A HARMONICA,

BUT THE LUNGS IN THIS CASE

THAT PUSHES AIR THROUGH YOUR HARMONICA,

THE LUNGS HERE ARE THE BELLOWS, THIS CONTRAPTION HERE.

WHEN YOU PRESS A BUTTON HERE,

NOTHING HAPPENS UNTIL YOU BLOW, OR PUSH, AIR THROUGH

WITH THE BELLOWS.

IT PLAYS A SEVEN-NOTE MAJOR SCALE. SIMPLE, SIMPLE, SIMPLE,

WHICH MEANS YOU CAN'T PLAY ANYTHING VERY COMPLICATED

BECAUSE YOU ONLY HAVE SEVEN WORDS IN YOUR VOCABULARY

TO TELL THE STORY.

THE OTHER SIDE OF IT, IT'S GOT A VERY, VERY SIMPLE

BASS AND CHORD ACCOMPANIMENT.

THE SONGS WE PLAY, THE ACCOMPANYING CHORDS

WOULD BE "C," "G," WHICH WE HAVE,

BUT ALSO "F."

AND WE DON'T HAVE THE "F" CHORD.

IT'S ONLY THE SIMPLE OOMPAH, OOMPAH.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

WELL, THE FACT THAT WE DON'T HAVE THE "F" CHORD

AND THAT WE PLAY THE "G" AGAINST IT

SOMETIMES ADDS TO THIS DISCORDANT SOUND

THAT CAJUN MUSIC IS KNOWN FOR.

ANN: THE ACCORDION AT FIRST

WAS NOT ACCEPTED BY THE CAJUN PEOPLE,

AND IT WAS VERY UNPOPULAR.

IT WAS VERY LOUD. IT DROWNED OUT THE FIDDLE.

BUT, EVENTUALLY, THE PEOPLE REALIZED

THAT LOUDNESS WOULD COME IN HANDY IN A LOUD DANCE HALL

WITH PEOPLE DANCING AND YELLING AND PARTYING.

SO AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY,

THE ACCORDION BECAME THE SOUND OF CAJUN MUSIC.

[APPLAUSE]

MARC: BY THE 1930s, THE ONLY FACTORY

THAT WAS SENDING ACCORDIONS TO LOUISIANA WAS

THE HOHNER PEOPLE, WHICH WAS IN GERMANY.

BUT HOHNER DECIDED TO IMPROVE THESE ACCORDIONS

AND TO MODERNIZE THEM.

WELL, THEY DID TO THE POINT THAT NO SELF-RESPECTING CAJUN

WANTED TO PLAY ONE.

IN 1955, A MAN FROM LAKE CHARLES

BUILT THE FIRST LOUISIANA ACCORDION.

WHEN I SAW THAT, I CAME HOME THE NEXT MORNING.

I WAS 17 YEARS OLD, AND I TOLD MY DAD, I SAID,

"GUESS WHAT I SAW LAST NIGHT.

A HAND-MADE COPY OF THESE OLD GERMAN ACCORDIONS."

AND IT WAS WONDERFUL.

IT PLAYED SO MUCH BETTER THAN THE OTHER ACCORDIONS.

I SAID, "I WANT TO BUILD ONE."

IT TOOK ME A LONG, LONG TIME TO GET ALL THIS TOGETHER.

YOU KNOW, ALL THESE LITTLE SIMPLE THINGS

THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE IN A LARGE CITY

WERE NOT TO BE FOUND HERE

IN THIS RURAL FARMING COMMUNITY OF EUNICE.

SO WE HAVE TO MAKE ALL OUR COMPONENTS.

BUT WE BUY THE BELLOWS AND THE REEDS,

THE INTERNAL REEDS, FROM ITALY.

AND ALL THE METAL HARDWARE, WHICH IS MADE OF BRASS.

THIS IS MADE ON THIS ANTIQUATED, GREASY-LOOKING MACHINE HERE.

THAT'S CALLED A PUNCH PRESS.

BY HAND, IT'LL TAKE ME AN HOUR TO MAKE 20 PIECES.

BUT WHEN I GOT THIS MACHINE, I SAID, "WOW.

"I'M LEAVING THE STONE AGE

AND ENTERING THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION."

JOEL: THERE YOU GO. REPEAT SEVEN MORE TIMES.

MARC: SO 532 PIECES ASSEMBLING INTO A LITTLE, TINY WOODEN BOX

TO MAKE MUSIC TO MAKE THE PEOPLE DANCE.

I STARTED IN 1960,

AND I'M STILL HERE BUILDING ACCORDIONS.

NOT A BAD JOB.

ANN: MARC, DEWEY BALFA, D.L. MENARD,

THEY WERE THE EARLY PIONEERS OF CAJUN MUSIC

AND THE FIRST ONES TO BE HEARD OUTSIDE OF THE STATE.

BUT YOU NEVER HEARD ABOUT IT MUCH UNTIL ABOUT 1964,

WHEN, SUDDENLY, YOU KNOW,

THE CAJUNS STARTED GOING TO NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND,

TO THE FOLK FESTIVAL THERE.

AND THE NORTHERNERS GOT INTERESTED,

AND IT WAS LIKE, ALL RIGHT. THIS IS GONNA--

REALLY START HAPPENING.

MARC: I ALWAYS FELT IN MY HEART, ONE OF THESE DAYS

THAT WOULD REALLY EXPLODE, THIS THING CALLED CAJUNISM.

AND IN 1965, I STARTED THE SAVOY MUSIC CENTER.

EVERY SATURDAY MORNING FOR 54 YEARS,

I OPENED THE DOORS TO THE OLDER GENERATION.

THE AUDIENCE SEEMED TO APPRECIATE

THE GEMS THAT WERE THERE.

ANN: NONE OF CAJUN MUSIC WAS WRITTEN ON PAPER EVER.

THAT ORAL TRADITION, PASSING DOWN AND DOWN AND DOWN

JUST BY PEOPLE HANGING OUT TOGETHER

AND LISTENING TO EACH OTHER.

CAJUN MUSIC REFLECTS THE DEEP SOUL OF THESE PEOPLE.

MARC: GO, COZ!

COZ: WHEN I WAS 10 YEARS OLD,

I BOUGHT MY FIRST HARMONICA HERE

AT MARC SAVOY'S FOR $3.00.

AND I SAVED MONEY TO BUY IT...

MAN: BYE-BYE, COZ.

COZ: BYE-BYE. WHEN I GOT OLD ENOUGH,

I BOUGHT MY ACCORDION.

[TOOL WHIRRING]

MARC: OK, NOW, THIS SHOULD FREE THE--

OK, LET'S LOOK AT THIS SIDE HERE ONLY.

YEAH. HERE ARE THE REEDS.

THERE'S ACTUALLY THREE DIFFERENT OCTAVES.

THERE'S A HIGH OCTAVE, OR THE PICCOLO OCTAVE, HERE,

ONE ROW OF BASSOON OCTAVES, A REAL LOW OCTAVE.

AND AS YOU CAN TELL, THEY'RE HUGE.

[LOW PITCH]

AND WHAT WE HAVE HERE ARE THE SWITCHES.

YOU'LL NOTICE IF I LOWER ONE OF THESE STOPS HERE--

YOU SEE THE BLOCK GO DOWN?

WELL, WHAT THAT DOES, IT SHUTS THE AIR OFF

TO THAT PARTICULAR BANK OF REEDS.

OK, THE INNARDS, THE PLATE.

WE BUILD AND GLUE UP SOMETHING LIKE THIS.

IT HAS THE DIVIDERS, LIKE YOU SEE RIGHT HERE.

SO WHEN YOU LOWER THE STOP,

WHEN YOU LOWER THE KNOB ON TOP,

YOU CAN SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

SEE HOW IT JUST STOPS THE AIR FROM FLOWING THROUGH THE REEDS?

SOMETIMES I'LL MAKE AN ACCORDION AND IT'S BY FAR

THE BEST ONE I'VE EVER BUILT, OR ONE OF THE BEST.

AND WHY IS IT BETTER? YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW.

I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE EVERYTHING IS THE SAME.

BUT FOR SOME MYSTERIOUS LITTLE SOMETHING OR OTHER,

IT'S SUPERIOR.

YOU KNOW, I'VE SPENT SO MANY YEARS TINKERING WITH THIS,

YOU KNOW,

AND I FEEL LIKE IT IS A PART OF WHO I AM.

ANN: MARC AND I ARE FROM VERY DIFFERENT WORLDS.

I'M FROM RICHMOND, VIRGINIA.

AND MY MOTHER SANG WELL,

AND MY FATHER HAD A LITTLE DIXIELAND BAND.

I JUST CAUGHT ON TO THE GUITAR QUICKLY.

IT SEEMED TO BE ME.

MY FATHER PASSED AWAY WHEN I WAS 13.

AND MY MOTHER SAID, "LET'S GO ON AN ADVENTURE.

LET'S GO LIVE IN SWITZERLAND FOR A YEAR."

SO I HAD TO LEARN FRENCH.

IN COLLEGE, I WENT WILD OVER FRENCH LITERATURE.

I DID MY JUNIOR YEAR ABROAD IN PARIS.

I CAME BACK TO AMERICA,

AND I WENT TO THE NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL.

AND THERE WERE THESE MUSICIANS SPEAKING VERY OLD-STYLE FRENCH.

AND I THOUGHT, "WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE," YOU KNOW.

AND SO I REALIZED IT WAS THE CAJUNS.

AND MARC WAS LIKE, "YOU HAVE TO COME VISIT LOUISIANA.

"OAK TREES, MOSS DRIPPING,

"THESE BEAUTIFUL OLD HOUSES.

COME WITH ME FISHING ON THE BAYOUS."

[LAUGHS] AND IT TOTALLY SNOWED ME.

MARC: SHE ARRIVED,

AND MY MOTHER CAUGHT ME BY THE ARM, AND SHE SAID,

"THAT'S THE GIRL YOU'RE GONNA MARRY."

I SAID, "NO WAY." I SAID, "SHE'S TOO YOUNG."

SHE SAID, "I'M TELLING YOU,

THAT'S THE GIRL YOU'RE GONNA MARRY."

AND THE REST IS HISTORY.

ANN: THE WAY I STARTED PLAYING CAJUN MUSIC WAS THAT

MARC JUST TRAINED ME TO BE THE RHYTHM GUITAR PLAYER.

AND I KNEW FRENCH. I COULD SING THE SONGS.

[SINGING IN FRENCH]

MARC: WE TRAVELED THE WORLD WITH CAJUN MUSIC.

I GUESS WE'VE BEEN TO EVERY FOREIGN COUNTRY

THAT HAS A NAME.

ANN: SMELLS AMAZING.

ANN: SO WE'RE USING A WHOLE LOT OF ROUX IN THIS GUMBO

BECAUSE WE LIKE A NICE, THICK, DARK BROWN GUMBO.

MARC: NOT QUITE READY.

THERE'S SOME ROUX THAT'S NOT DILUTED.

ANN: WE HAVE FOUR CHILDREN.

THE FIRST ONE IS SARAH SAVOY.

SHE'S A WONDERFUL MOTHER AND A GREAT PERFORMER.

SHE HAS A CAJUN BAND IN FRANCE.

MARC: ♪ DA DA DA DUM ♪

ANN: READY FOR THE VEGGIES.

ANN: MY SECOND CHILD, JOEL,

HE'S A VERY TALENTED VIOLIN PLAYER

AND JAZZ GUITAR PLAYER.

HE'S GOT HIS OWN RECORDING STUDIO.

I GREW UP IN A HOUSEHOLD

THAT WAS FILLED WITH MUSIC.

MY SIBLINGS AND I TOURED A WHOLE LOT WITH THE FAMILY.

I DEFINITELY DO THINK

THAT I HAVE THE BEST PARENTS IN THE WORLD.

JOEL: WHEN I WANTED TO PLAY PUNK ROCK,

MY DAD GAVE ME A GIANT AMP, AND HE GAVE ME THAT.

EVEN THOUGH HE HATES THAT KIND OF MUSIC, YOU KNOW,

HE WAS SUPPORTIVE.

MARC: OK, NOW WE CAN PLAY MUSIC.

ANN: AFTER JOEL CAME WILSON 18 MONTHS LATER.

AND HE CAN PLAY ANY INSTRUMENT

HE PUTS HIS HANDS ON EXTREMELY WELL.

WILSON: ANYTIME YOU WANT TO GET REALLY GOOD AT SOMETHING,

YOU GOT TO GET OBSESSED WITH IT.

AND THAT'S HOW ALL OF US IN THE FAMILY

GOT GOOD AT WHAT WE DO.

[ANN SINGING IN FRENCH]

WILSON: IN MY FAMILY, THERE'S NO SHOWMEN.

THEY BELIEVE IN JUST PLAYING MUSIC,

JUST STRAIGHT FACE, PLAYING.

THAT'S GREAT, BUT THAT'S NOT MY PERSONALITY.

I HAVE MUCH MORE OF AN OUTGOING PERSONALITY.

WHEN I PLAY MUSIC, I WANT TO HAVE FUN.

WILSON: LA POUSSIERE, IT'S ONE OF THE OLDEST DANCE HALLS

IN LOUISIANA.

AND PEOPLE COME AND THEY DANCE ALL NIGHT LONG TO CAJUN MUSIC.

SO IT'S FOLK MUSIC, BUT WE JUST DECIDE TO PLAY IT

WITH A LITTLE BIT MORE OOMPH AND ROCK-AND-ROLL ELEMENTS TO IT.

TAKE IT A LITTLE BIT FARTHER TO MAKE IT OUR OWN.

♪ YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, YEAH ♪

[ANN AND GABRIELLE SINGING IN FRENCH]

ANN: GABRIELLE'S MY LITTLE GIRL.

SHE WAS QUITE A BIT LATER AFTER THE OTHER BATCH.

SHE'S VERY IN TOUCH WITH THE CURRENT CULTURE, BUT SHE'S

ACTUALLY VERY, VERY CAJUN.

GABRIELLE: ART HAS ALWAYS BEEN A WAY

JUST TO TELL MY STORY IN A WAY

THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM THE REST OF MY FAMILY'S.

I GOT INTO PHOTOGRAPHY, AND THAT BECAME A WAY THAT I

COULD EXPRESS MY EXPERIENCES HERE IN SOUTHWEST LOUISIANA.

I STARTED TAKING THESE PHOTOGRAPHS

OF JOEL'S MARDI GRAS RUN OUT HERE,

WHICH IS JUST THE MOST SURREAL EVENT EVER.

GROWING UP, I WAS ALWAYS PROUD

THAT MY PARENTS COULD DO WHAT THEY LOVED TO DO

AND THAT MY MOM ADOPTED THIS CULTURE AS HER OWN

AND IT BECAME A PART OF WHO SHE IS.

WILSON: SHE WROTE THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOK

ABOUT CAJUN MUSIC EVER WRITTEN,

INTERVIEWED ALL THE OLD LEGENDS AND TOOK PICTURES OF THEM.

NOBODY WAS DOING THAT.

ANN: ONE OF MY SPECIAL LOVE MUSICAL PROJECTS IS

MY BAND CALLED THE MAGNOLIA SISTERS

THAT JANE VIDRINE AND I STARTED 37 YEARS BACK.

ANN: WE WERE BOTH YOUNG MOTHERS.

SO WE WOULD JUST GET IN THE KITCHEN WITH OUR NEW BABIES

AND LET THE BABIES PLAY ON THE FLOOR,

AND WE'D PLAY INSTRUMENTS.

JANE: WE ALSO LIKED TO DIG THROUGH ARCHIVES

AND OLD SONG BOOKS AND EVERYTHING.

SO WE HAD OLD FRENCH SONGS SPREAD ALL OVER ANN'S KITCHEN,

AND KIDS AND THEIR TOYS.

[THE MAGNOLIA SISTERS SINGING IN FRENCH]

ANN: THOSE SONGS ARE LITERALLY FROM THE TIME OF LOUIS XIV.

AND THEY'RE SONGS, I FIND, AS WOMEN, WE RELATE TO.

SOME OF THE SONGS ARE ABOUT LOVE,

SOME OF THEM ARE ABOUT WOMEN BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF.

WOMEN ALWAYS WERE AN IMPORTANT PART OF CAJUN MUSIC.

A LOT OF WOMEN PLAYED THE ACCORDION IN THEIR HOMES

WHILE THE FOOD WAS COOKING.

JANE: BUT IT'S NOT VERY NORMAL TO HAVE A CAJUN BAND

THAT'S COMPRISED OF ALL WOMEN.

THE MAGNOLIA SISTERS REALLY BROKE THE MOLD.

[SONG FADES]

MARC: FOR ME, HOPEFULLY,

I'LL JUST CONTINUE DOING WHAT I'M DOING,

GETTING TOGETHER WITH MY FRIENDS AND MY FAMILY

AND PLAYING MUSIC TOGETHER,

MAKING INSTRUMENTS,

OPENING UP THE STORE ON SATURDAY MORNING

AND LET ALL THE GUYS COME IN AND LET THEM DO THEIR THING.

IF PEOPLE LIKE IT? GLORY BE.

IF THEY DON'T, WE'LL CONTINUE DOING IT THE WAY WE DO IT.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

[MUSICIAN PLAYING UPRIGHT BASS]

SUSAN: I LOVE BOWS. I'VE ALWAYS LOVED BOWS.

WHEN I WAS IN SCHOOL,

I JUST WANTED ALWAYS A BETTER BOW,

SO I'M A LITTLE BIT BOW CRAZY.

I DECIDED TO SPECIALIZE JUST TO MAKE BASS BOWS.

MOST BOW MAKERS DON'T WANT TO MAKE BASS BOWS.

YOU USE TWICE AS MUCH MATERIAL.

IT TAKES TWICE AS MUCH TIME TO MAKE,

BUT IT CAN PRODUCE THE MOST GLORIOUS SOUND.

ALEXANDER: THE BOW IS OFTEN JUST AS IMPORTANT OR MORE IMPORTANT

THAN THE ACTUAL INSTRUMENT YOU HAVE, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY--

THIS IS WHERE, YOU KNOW, ALL THE...

HEART AND SOUL OF THE SOUND COMES FROM,

IS EVERYTHING YOU DO WITH YOUR RIGHT HAND.

I'D BEEN WAITING FOR ABOUT FOUR YEARS

FOR THE WONDERFUL BOW MAKER SUE LIPKINS TO MAKE ME THIS BOW,

AND I'M REALLY, REALLY LUCKY TO HAVE THIS BOW.

SUSAN: I MOVED HERE IN 1997.

I WAS A SINGLE MOM WITH AKIRA, MY YOUNG SON.

HIS DAD DIED WHEN HE WAS SIX.

SO AFTER I START A BOW AND THE BOW IS ROUGHED OUT,

THEN WE BEND THE STICK TO A CAMBER, OR THE CURVE.

WE USE A DRY HEAT.

WHEN THE BOW IS HOT ENOUGH,

I PUSH DOWN ON THE STICK AND GET THE CURVE.

BUT AT THIS STAGE, WE NEED TO TWEAK THE CAMBER RIGHT HERE.

THAT'S GOING TO BE NINE POINT FIVE MILLIMETERS.

AND LET'S SEE. I WANT, YUP, RIGHT HERE. NINE POINT FIVE.

I HAVE SMALL PLANES THAT I HAD SPECIALLY MADE.

THIS ONE HAS A LITTLE BIT OF CURVE ON THE BOTTOM.

IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO USE A FLAT PLANE

BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH CURVE.

SO LET'S SEE. I'VE GOT NINE POINT FIVE.

SO I'M GOING TO TAKE A HALF A MILLIMETER OFF.

AND THIS, I GOT A WAYS TO GO. ALL RIGHT.

I GREW UP IN QUEENS, NEW YORK CITY.

I WAS LUCKY TO BE IN A JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL THAT HAD

A STRING PROGRAM,

AND THE TEACHER DEMONSTRATED EACH INSTRUMENT AND SAID,

"NOW, WHO WANTS TO PLAY THE VIOLIN?"

AND I RAISED MY HAND, BUT HE DIDN'T CALL ON ME.

"VIOLA?" DIDN'T CALL ON ME. "CELLO?" HE DIDN'T CALL ON ME.

AND THE ONLY INSTRUMENT LEFT WAS THE BASS,

AND IT WAS A PURE ACCIDENT.

I ENDED UP REALLY ENJOYING THE BASS AND WENT TO JUILLIARD.

I HAVE A BACHELOR'S AND A MASTER'S

IN PERFORMANCE ON BASS.

BUT ONCE I GRADUATED, I COULDN'T GET A JOB.

I WAS SCHLEPPING THE BASS ALL OVER ON THE SUBWAY.

HORRIBLE. [CHUCKLES]

THEN I GOT OFFERED A JOB AS A SALESPERSON

FOR THE SHOP OF WILLIAM SALCHOW,

WHO TAUGHT MOST OF THE BOW MAKERS IN THIS COUNTRY.

I THOUGHT, IF BILL WOULD AGREE TO TEACH ME

BOW MAKING AFTER-HOURS, THIS IS SKILL I COULD USE.

AND IT WAS A FANTASTIC TRAINING.

SO THIS IS MY HORSE HAIR. IT COMES FROM CHINA.

I TRY AND GET THE BEST HORSE HAIR I CAN,

BUT IT'S ALSO HOW YOU PUT THE HAIR IN.

THE TENSION OF THE HAIR IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

THE VIOLIN SOCIETY OF AMERICA, EVERY TWO YEARS,

THEY HOLD A COMPETITION,

AND I STARTED COMPETING IN 2002.

DIDN'T WIN ANYTHING.

THERE WAS A KIND OF A LOOKING DOWN,

"OH, SHE MAKES BASS BOWS."

IT'S NOT THAT EASY TO GET IT IN, ESPECIALLY ON A BASS BOW.

IT WAS A STRUGGLE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS.

THEN, SLOWLY, MY BOWS STARTED TO WIN CERTIFICATES OF MERIT.

AND THEN MY ENTRY WON A GOLD MEDAL,

AND I WAS SO THRILLED.

AND THAT WAS A GLASS CEILING BROKEN,

BECAUSE NO WOMAN HAD EVER WON A GOLD MEDAL

IN THAT COMPETITION.

THEN THE NEXT COMPETITION,

MY BOW WON ANOTHER GOLD MEDAL.

SO THEY FINALLY RECOGNIZED MY WORK AS TOP-NOTCH.

OK, THAT'S LOOKING PRETTY GOOD.

IAN.

IAN: HOW YOU DOING?

SUSAN: VERY GOOD.

LET'S TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT I'M GOING

TO MAKE FOR YOU.

I DO HAVE A LONG WAITING LIST FOR MY BOWS.

IT'S ABOUT 10 YEARS LONG.

ONE OF THE REASONS IS BECAUSE I DON'T MAKE BOWS VERY QUICKLY.

I REALLY TAKE MY TIME.

I HAVE TO MAKE SURE EVERYTHING IS PERFECT.

HOW TALL ARE YOU?

IAN: I AM 5'11.9999".

SUSAN: OK. HA HA!

I'M HAPPY IF I MAKE EIGHT TO TEN BOWS A YEAR.

HOW BIG ARE YOUR HANDS?

IAN: THEY'RE... SUSAN: OH, YEAH. RIGHT.

IAN: YEAH. I GOT SOME, YEAH. SUSAN: OK, OK. OK. VERY GOOD.

I KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO MAKE, RIGHT?

IAN: AND I DO WANT THE FULL SUE LIPKINS EXPERIENCE.

SUSAN: OK. HA HA! YOU'RE GOING TO GET IT.

I'M GOING TO START WORKING ON IT VERY SOON.

IAN: SWEET. SUSAN: YEAH.

WELL, RIGHT NOW, I'M LOOKING FOR A BLANK, A BOW BLANK,

THAT I WILL USE FOR IAN HALLAS.

I WANT TO GIVE HIM A LOT OF CAMBER,

SO I WANT TO LOOK FOR A PIECE OF WOOD

THAT'S THE RIGHT DENSITY AND DARK COLOR.

THIS IS WILD. THIS IS A REALLY WILD WOOD. HA HA!

MOST BOW MAKERS USE PERNAMBUCO WOOD.

SO ONE OF THE PROPERTIES OF PERNAMBUCO, IF YOU TAP IT,

IT SOUNDS LIKE A CRYSTAL GOBLET.

[MEDIUM PITCH]

SO THAT WAS ONE.

[LOWER PITCH]

HEAR THE DIFFERENCE?

IT'S AMAZING.

[VERY LOW PITCH]

THIS IS GOOD.

IF I CAN GET THIS ONE TO WORK, IT'LL BE A BEAUTIFUL BOW.

THAT'S IT. I CHOSE. HA HA!

I MET DAVID IN 1999

AT THE TWO-WEEK BOW-MAKING AND VIOLIN-MAKING WORKSHOP

AT OBERLIN COLLEGE.

BUT I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIM, REALLY,

EXCEPT, WELL, HE'S A VIOLIN MAKER.

DAVID: I STARTED TO NOTICE SUE.

AND AT THE END OF THE TWO WEEKS,

I WAS ABLE TO GET HER EMAIL.

SUSAN: AND I FELL IN LOVE. HA HA!

DAVID MOVED IN HERE IN 2002, WHEN AKIRA WAS 11,

AND HELPED RAISE HIM IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY.

HE TAUGHT HIM HOW TO BE A MAN AND GENTLE AT THE SAME TIME.

DAVID: SEVERAL YEARS AGO, SUE WANTED ME

TO MAKE A BASS FOR HER.

I USED THIS HIGHLY FIGURED WALNUT AND SIZED IT ALL,

ACCOMMODATING THE STRING LENGTH THAT SHE WANTED.

SUSAN: ONE THING THAT THE JUILLIARD TRAINING DID FOR ME,

I CAN MAKE ASSESSMENTS ABOUT WHAT THE BOW WILL NEED...

WOW!

FOR THE FINAL CAMBER AND FINISHING.

IT'S VERY INTERESTING.

I'M TEMPTED TO LEAVE THIS BOW JUST THE WAY IT IS.

WELCOME, WELCOME. LIZZIE: HI.

DAVID: HI, LIZZIE. SUSAN: GOOD TO SEE YOU.

LIZZIE: GOOD TO SEE YOU, TOO.

SUSAN: LIZZIE GOT ON MY WAITING LIST WHEN SHE STARTED JUILLIARD.

SO LET'S GO UPSTAIRS. LIZZIE: ALL RIGHT. THANK YOU.

SUSAN: WHAT ARE YOU GONNA PLAY, LIZZIE?

LIZZIE: THIS IS A PIECE CALLED "PSY" BY LUCIANO BERIO.

I CHOSE IT BECAUSE I THOUGHT IT WOULD SHOW OFF

THE STRENGTHS OF YOUR BOW REALLY WELL.

SUSAN: I THOUGHT FOR SURE I WOULD GET TO HER BOW

BEFORE SHE GRADUATED, BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN.

FINALLY, HER NAME CAME TO THE TOP OF THE LIST,

AND IT JUST SO HAPPENED

IT WAS RIGHT BEFORE SHE WAS GETTING MARRIED.

SO IT WAS A VERY EXCITING THING TO MAKE A WEDDING BOW. HA HA!

I WANT TO MAKE THE BEST BOW OUT OF THAT PIECE OF WOOD.

I WANT TO DO IT JUSTICE. THAT'S WHAT I STRIVE TO DO.

BUT I'M STILL LEARNING,

AND THAT'S THE BEAUTY OF BOW-MAKING.

SUSAN: YEAH, REALLY COOL. DAVID: NICE. YEAH.

SUSAN: THAT'S GREAT. YEAH! HA HA! THANK YOU SO MUCH.

LIZZIE: OF COURSE. THANK YOU. DAVID: YEAH.

DOUG: APPALACHIA IS A REGION WHERE PEOPLE HAVE SUCCEEDED

AND SURVIVED IN SOME PRETTY RUGGED COUNTRY FOR GENERATIONS.

WONDERFUL MUSIC HAS ORIGINATED FROM HERE.

MAN: ♪ WHEN THE DAYS ARE ROLLING ON... ♪

DOUG: AND THE CRAFTSMANSHIP IS SOME OF THE BEST IN THE WORLD.

MAN: ♪ WHEN THE DAYS ARE ROLLING ON ♪

♪ I'LL LEAVE HERE BY AND BY... ♪

DOUG: WE LIKE TO USE THE WORD "APPALACHIAN"

AS A SUPERLATIVE TO INDICATE THE VALUE OF A JOB WELL DONE.

THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENT WE CALL THE DULCIMER

WAS BORN HERE IN KNOTT COUNTY, KENTUCKY.

THE DULCIMER WAS SPUN OUT OF OTHER INSTRUMENTS

THAT THE PIONEERS BROUGHT THROUGH IN THE EARLY 1800s,

COMING THROUGH THE CUMBERLAND GAP.

RANDY: WE'RE NOT SURE HOW IT EVOLVED.

IT COULD HAVE BEEN FROM THE SWEDISH INSTRUMENT

CALLED HUMMEL.

AND THERE'S A GERMAN INSTRUMENT CALLED SCHEITHOLZ.

BUT IT WASN'T A HIGH, YOU KNOW, CULTURE INSTRUMENT.

IT WAS PLAYED BY PEASANTS,

AND IT WAS KIND OF, YOU KNOW, JUST A PIECE OF WOOD.

♪ HEY, JOHNSON BOYS THINK THEY ARE SASSY ♪

♪ JOHNSON BOYS THINK THEY ARE MEN ♪

♪ COMB THEIR HAIR AND WASH THEIR FACES ♪

♪ DON'T LOOK BAD FOR THE SHAPE THEY'RE IN ♪

[LAUGHTER]

DOUG: PEOPLE HAD BEEN MAKING THESE DULCIMERS FOR GENERATIONS,

BUT THE HOURGLASS FORM ORIGINATED IN 1871

BY JAMES EDWARD THOMAS.

EVERYONE AROUND HERE CALLED HIM UNCLE ED.

UNCLE ED MADE 1,200 OR 1,300 OF THESE INSTRUMENTS.

RANDY: HE HAD A LITTLE CART.

IF THERE'S A GOOD ROAD, HE'D SELL 'EM OFF HIS CART

FOR EIGHT DOLLARS AND TAKE THEM IN INSTALLMENTS,

A DOLLAR A MONTH.

DOUG: AND THAT INCLUDED LESSONS.

RANDY: WHOO!

[LAUGHTER]

DOUG: ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, I WAS ASKED TO COME DOWN

TO THE APPALACHIAN ARTISAN CENTER HERE

AND START A SCHOOL OF LUTHIERY.

WE WANTED TO SEE PEOPLE COMING HERE TO STUDY

AND SUPPORT THE LOCAL ECONOMY.

TABATHA: YEAH, WE GOT IT.

PAUL: OOPS.

THIS IS A FRETBOARD FOR A DULCIMER, AND SHE'S

ROUTING OUT THE SLOT FOR WHERE THE SADDLE IS GOING TO SIT.

IT NEEDS TO BE FLAT AND EQUAL ACROSS.

PAUL: JUST TRY TO HOLD IT LEVEL.

I REALLY DO LIKE SHOWING WHAT I KNOW TO OTHER PEOPLE.

I FIGURE I GOT

SUPER POWERS OF SORTS BECAUSE I

CAN TAKE OLD DEAD WOOD

AND MAKE IT SING.

DOUG: APPALACHIA IS ONE OF THE RICHEST REPOSITORIES

OF MUSICAL WOOD IN THE WORLD.

PAUL: A LITTLE BIT MORE.

DOUG: STRADIVARIUS WOULD HAVE USED ALL THIS WOOD

IF HE COULD HAVE.

PAUL: THIS PARTICULAR INSTRUMENT IS BUILT

FROM A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT LOCAL HARDWOOD SPECIES.

WE HAVE AN OAK BACK,

WE HAVE, UH, BLACK WALNUT SIDES AND A HEADSTOCK,

AND THEN WE HAVE A BUTTERNUT TOP AND AN OAK FRETBOARD

WITH WALNUT BRIDGES ON EITHER END.

PRETTY COOL.

DOUG: THIS IS A COMMUNITY WITH SOME REALLY DEEP MUSICAL ROOTS.

JEAN: ♪ GOOD-BYE, GIRLS, I'M GOING TO BOSTON ♪

♪ GOOD-BYE, GIRLS, I'M GOING TO BOSTON ♪

♪ GOOD-BYE, GIRLS, I'M GOING TO BOSTON ♪

♪ EARLY IN THE MORNING... ♪

DOUG: IN THE 1960s, JEAN RITCHIE BECAME A KEY FIGURE

OF THE FOLK REVIVAL AS THEY CALL IT.

JEAN: ♪ ...IN THE MORNING ♪

♪ WON'T WE LOOK PRETTY IN THE BALLROOM? ♪

♪ WON'T WE LOOK PRETTY IN THE BALLROOM... ♪

JON: MOM IS CREDITED

WITH BRINGING THE DULCIMER

TO NATIONAL ATTENTION.

SHE WAS BORN IN 1922

AND GREW UP HERE.

SHE WENT TO UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY.

SHE STUDIED SOCIAL WORK.

AND SHE WENT TO NEW YORK CITY TO INTERN

AT THE HENRY STREET SETTLEMENT

ON THE LOWER EAST SIDE OF MANHATTAN.

MET MY FATHER AND FELL IN LOVE AND STAYED IN NEW YORK

THE REST OF HER LIFE.

JEAN: ♪ WON'T WE LOOK PRETTY IN THE BALLROOM... ♪

DOUG: SHE WAS AUTHENTIC.

SHE SANG LIKE AN ANGEL, MADE HEARTS MELT.

[APPLAUSE]

[JEAN LAUGHING]

JON: AND SHE, ALONG WITH PETE SEEGER AND SEVERAL OTHERS,

WAS ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF THE NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL.

JON: THIS INSTRUMENT, BY THE WAY,

IS THE ONE THAT MOM TOOK ALL OVER THE WORLD.

THIS IS HER CONCERT INSTRUMENT,

HER FAVORITE ONE.

IT WAS MADE BY MY UNCLE, MORRIS PICKOW,

AND MY FATHER.

THEY USED TO MAKE THEM IN A LITTLE SHOP

IN WILLIAMSBURG, BROOKLYN, UNDERNEATH THE BRIDGE. HA HA!

MY FATHER GREW UP IN BROOKLYN,

AND MY MOTHER, BEING FROM KENTUCKY,

IT WAS KIND OF A STRANGE MIX.

DAD TOOK PICTURES

OF SOME OF THE GREAT MUSICIANS OF OUR TIME.

HE ALSO SHOT A LOT OF ALBUM COVERS.

AND BECAUSE OF MOM,

HE GOT TO GO WHERE A LOT OF NEW YORK PHOTOGRAPHERS

WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN WELCOME.

HE TOOK PICTURES OF BAPTISMS AND CHURCH SERVICES,

AND A LOT OF FOLKLORISTS REALLY LOOK TO THOSE PICTURES TODAY,

BECAUSE HE GOT SOME REALLY RARE THINGS

THE WAY THEY WERE BACK THEN.

DOUG: THIS IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES ON EARTH

BUT, FOR YEARS, AN IMPOSSIBLE PLACE TO LIVE.

THE APPALACHIAN PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BATTERED

BECAUSE THE DOWNTURN OF THE COAL INDUSTRY

HAS JUST RAVAGED THIS AREA.

AND THEN THE ONE-TWO PUNCH OF THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC.

PAUL: SO PRESS IT DOWN ON THIS CORNER RIGHT HERE,

AND THEN WORK YOUR WAY FROM THIS SIDE TO THAT SIDE.

DOUG: THE CULTURE OF RECOVERY PROGRAM

IS BRINGING PEOPLE IN RECOVERY FROM ADDICTION

INTO THE APPALACHIAN SCHOOL OF LUTHIERY.

MAN: NOT TOO BAD. PAUL: NO.

DOUG: MUSICAL INSTRUMENT MAKING REQUIRES YOUR ATTENTION,

YOUR CONCENTRATION, AND YOUR DEDICATION TO A GOAL.

THEY'VE PROVEN IT CLINICALLY.

HAVING SOMETHING THAT PULLS YOU INTO IT

IS A REALLY EFFECTIVE WAY OF HEALING.

TABATHA: THIS IS MY FIRST DULCIMER.

I'M ACTUALLY GLUING THE FRETBOARD ON RIGHT NOW.

THIS IS A REALLY GOOD PROGRAM.

I DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD BE

SUCH A LARGE PART OF MY LIFE,

OF MY RECOVERY, BUT THIS PLACE

REALLY MEANS A LOT TO ME.

PAUL: SET IT UP. TABATHA: FIT THAT RIGHT IN?

PAUL: MM-HMM. MAKE SURE YOU GET

THE CENTER OF THAT ONE DOWN THERE AND FIT IT IN.

ARE YOU CENTERED DOWN THERE? TABATHA: YES, I AM.

PAUL: IT LOOKS GOOD.

DOUG: WE'RE TRYING TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVES

TO THE EXTRACTIVE ECONOMY

THAT'S LET APPALACHIA ALMOST DIE.

THE OLD HINDMAN HIGH SCHOOL IS NOW SERVING

AS THE TROUBLESOME CREEK STRINGED INSTRUMENT COMPANY.

DOUG: WE PUT PEOPLE TO WORK HERE WHO WE HAD GRADUATED

FROM OUR CULTURE OF RECOVERY PROGRAM AT THE LUTHIERY.

JEREMY: WE'RE BENDING SIDES FOR THE DULCIMER,

WE WET THE WOOD, PUT IT IN PARCHMENT PAPER

TO KEEP THE WOOD FROM GETTING BURNT.

AND THEN WE'LL PLACE IT IN THE BENDER

AND WAIT FOR IT TO HEAT UP FOR ABOUT TWO MINUTES.

THAT WAY, IT FORMS THE SHAPE OF THE SIDE.

I WAS BORN WITH WHAT THEY CALL

SCOLIOSIS AND SPINA BIFIDA.

SO MY DOCTORS HAD PUT ME

ON PAIN PILLS, AND THAT LED TO A OPIOID DEPENDENCY.

AND THEN THAT LED INTO BUYING METHAMPHETAMINE

BECAUSE IT WAS MUCH CHEAPER.

THEN, OF COURSE, THAT LED ME TO GETTING IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW,

IN AND OUT OF JAIL FOR ABOUT FOUR YEARS.

DOUG: IF YOU'VE BEEN CONVICTED OF A DRUG-RELATED FELONY

IN A PLACE WHERE THERE ARE NO JOBS TO BEGIN WITH,

YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT ARE PRETTY BLEAK.

NATHAN: I WORKED IN THE COAL MINES.

I WAS ON MY KNEES ALL THE TIME.

VERY SELDOMLY COULD I STAND UP.

WHEN I STARTED HAVING BACK PROBLEMS,

THAT'S WHAT GOT ME INTO,

YOU KNOW,

PILLS AND JUST DIFFERENT THINGS.

YOU KNOW, I'D BEEN IN ACTIVE ADDICTION FOR 25 YEARS.

IT'S BEEN A STRUGGLE, BUT THIS HAS HELPED ME A WHOLE LOT.

THE STUFF THAT I'VE LEARNT, JUST HANDCRAFTING EVERYTHING,

I NEVER IMAGINED DOING ANYTHING LIKE THAT BEFORE.

IT SHOWED ME THAT I CAN.

DOUG: THESE GUYS, THEY'VE DONE THE REALLY BRAVE WORK,

PIECING THEIR LIVES TOGETHER AFTER THEY'VE HIT BOTTOM.

IT'S PRETTY HEROIC.

JEREMY: BUILDING MY OWN INSTRUMENT WAS

LIBERATING AND GRATIFYING.

AND THEN BY WORKING HERE, I WAS ABLE TO GET MY OWN APARTMENT,

SO IT GAVE ME AN INDEPENDENCE TO STAND UP ON MY OWN TWO FEET

AND TAKING CARE OF MYSELF.

MEN: ♪ FALDERAL, DIDDLE-I-FALL ♪

♪ FALDERAL, SING... ♪

DOUG: THIS IS THE FIRST FACTORY TO EVER OPEN ITS DOORS

IN KNOTT COUNTY, KENTUCKY.

EVEN THOUGH WE'RE SMALL, WE WANT TO USE

THE HARDWOODS OF APPALACHIA AND THE PEOPLE OF APPALACHIA

TO MAKE LIFE BETTER HERE.

[LAUGHTER]

DAVID: EAST TENNESSEE IS

A REALLY SPECIAL PART OF APPALACHIA.

WE'RE A LITTLE BIT OFF THE BEATEN TRACK,

BUT IT'S MUCH MORE INTERESTING AND DIVERSE

AND CONNECTED THAN PEOPLE GIVE US CREDIT FOR.

AT THE KNOXVILLE MUSEUM OF ART, OUR PRIMARY FOCUS IS ON ARTISTS

THAT ARE CONNECTED TO

THIS REALLY SPECTACULARLY BEAUTIFUL PART OF THE WORLD.

STEPHEN: SOME OF THE EARLIEST PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS

IN EAST TENNESSEE,

RATHER THAN TRYING TO FOCUS

ON SUBJECT MATTER FROM FAR AND WIDE,

THEY WERE LOOKING IN THEIR OWN BACKYARD FOR INSPIRATION.

THEY TURNED TO EAST TENNESSEE'S LUSH LANDSCAPE.

THEY LOOKED AT ITS BURGEONING URBAN LANDSCAPE.

EVEN CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS BASED

MANY OF THEIR COMPOSITIONS ON LOCAL SUBJECTS.

DAVID: THE MUSEUM IS ONE OF THE GREAT DESTINATIONS

FOR THE ARTS AND CULTURE IN KNOXVILLE.

BUT IF YOU LOOK BACK EIGHT YEARS AGO, THE GREAT HALL WAS

KIND OF A HOPELESS SPACE.

IT WAS SO BIG AND UNGAINLY-- A GREAT PLACE FOR EVENTS,

BUT THERE WAS NO ART THERE.

RICHARD: I KNEW TO HAVE A SUCCESSFUL IMPACT ON THE SPACE,

IT COULD NOT BE SOMETHING LIGHT AND OF WHIMSY.

IT HAD TO HAVE MORE SOLID MASS TO IT.

TOMMIE: TO ME, IT WAS JUST A DAUNTING TASK.

WHEN I WALKED INTO THE GREAT HALL, I SAID, "RICHARD,

"ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO TAKE THIS ON?

"I MEAN, THIS IS LIKE A LOT."

AND HE WAS LIKE, "OH, IT'S GOING TO BE INCREDIBLE."

DAVID: RICHARD IS A GREAT ARTIST

WHO HAPPENS TO LIVE IN KNOXVILLE AND WORKS MOSTLY IN GLASS.

EVERY HUMAN BEING IS INHERENTLY FASCINATED WITH GLASS.

IT JUST LOOKS LIKE MAGIC.

IT'S HEAVY.

AND IF YOU TOUCH IT, IT WILL BURN YOU.

RICHARD: GOOD, GOOD.

READY TO BLOW.

BLOW...

DAVID: THERE'S SO MUCH DRAMA TO THE MAKING OF GLASS...

RICHARD: BLOW...

DAVID: AND A KIND OF CHOREOGRAPHY

OF ALL THE DIFFERENT PLAYERS THAT IT TAKES TO MAKE A PIECE.

RICHARD: UP. GOOD. GOOD. STEADY.

YOU'RE GOOD. JUST STAY WITH ME. EVERYTHING'S GOOD.

GOOD, GOOD.

JAMES: TODAY, WE'RE MAKING A HEAD.

IT'S A SLEEPING HEAD,

SO IT'S A HEAD ON ITS SIDE--

THE FINISHED PIECE WILL BE--

WITH A BIRD ON TOP.

RICHARD: WHENEVER YOU'RE READY.

IT'S PART OF THE "SUSPENDED IN DREAMS" SERIES THAT I'VE DONE.

GOOD, GOOD, GOOD.

JAMES: RICHARD HAS SUCH TENACITY.

ONCE HE GETS INTO THE HOT SHOP TO MAKE THE THINGS--

HE'S PROBABLY ALREADY MADE IT IN HIS HEAD SEVERAL TIMES--

HE HAS A CLEAR VISION OF WHAT HE WANTS TO DO.

LAUREN: AND HE MAKES HIS OWN GLASS. THAT'S VERY RARE.

RICHARD IS THE ONLY AMERICAN ARTIST THAT I KNOW

THAT DOES THAT.

HE'S A REAL CHEMIST.

HE MAKES HIS OWN COLORS--

ALL OF HIS OWN BLUES, ALL OF HIS OWN GREENS,

EVERY COLOR THAT YOU SEE IN HIS WORK.

THE KNOWLEDGE IS ENDLESS.

I'M LIKE, CAN I JUST LIKE, CAN WE PUT OUR HEADS TOGETHER,

AND CAN I SUCK IT ALL IN?

BUT I DON'T THINK IT'S POSSIBLE.

RICHARD: I THINK WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG,

YOU'RE ALWAYS WORRIED ABOUT FINDING YOUR VOICE.

BUT AS AN ARTIST AT MY AGE, IT IS LIKE,

YOU BREATHE IN, YOU BREATHE OUT.

THERE ARE NARRATIVES WITH MY WORK, BUT I DON'T FEEL

THAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE NARRATIVE TO UNDERSTAND IT.

I DON'T THINK THAT IT TAKES MUCH EXPLANATION.

FUNCTIONING AS AN ARTIST,

YOU'RE SORT OF ALWAYS IN A DREAM STATE.

ALTHOUGH YOU'RE VERY FOCUSED AND REALISTIC,

THERE'S ALSO THIS DREAMLIKE QUALITY THAT YOU HAVE TO HAVE

TO DO THESE THINGS.

STEPHEN: I THINK THAT RICHARD'S INTEREST IN WORKING

WITH DIFFERENT MATERIALS-- FIRE, CHEMICALS--

IT'S DEEPLY ROOTED IN HAVING GROWN UP

IN THE ATOMIC CITY OF OAK RIDGE.

RICHARD: OAK RIDGE, TENNESSEE, WAS BUILT FROM SCRATCH

DURING WORLD WAR II, PART OF THE MANHATTAN PROJECT.

IT WAS A VERY SECRETIVE LOCATION

BECAUSE OF THE GOVERNMENTAL RESEARCH THEY WERE DOING.

MY FATHER WAS A SCIENTIST.

MY MOTHER WAS AN EDUCATOR.

GROWING UP IN OAK RIDGE,

EVERYONE WAS SUPPOSED TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL

WHETHER IT WAS A DOCTOR OR AN ENGINEER.

SOMEHOW I MISSED THE MEMO

AND DECIDED ONCE I GOT INTO COLLEGE

THAT I WANTED TO BE AN ARTIST.

TOMMIE: HEY, RICHARD. RICHARD: HEY...

TOMMIE AND I MET IN 1980.

TOMMIE: COMING TO MAKE SURE YOU'RE WORKING.

RICHARD: YEAH.

TOMMIE: I GREW UP IN MOBILE, ALABAMA.

AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN OAK RIDGE AND MOBILE

ARE LIKE NIGHT AND DAY.

I CAN'T IMAGINE THEM HAVING DRIVE-THRU DAIQUIRI MACHINES

IN OAK RIDGE. HA HA!

RICHARD: I WANT TO TRY TO GET THE SKY PART LAID OUT...

SHE IS SO DIFFERENT THAN WHAT I AM.

I MEAN, SHE'S VERY VIVACIOUS, INTELLIGENT.

TOMMIE: I THINK IT'S A TRUMPET FLOWER...

HE'S VERY STOIC COMPARED TO ME.

PLAYS HIS CARDS PRETTY CLOSE TO HIS CHEST.

BUT LOOK AT THIS COLOR. RICHARD: YEAH, IT'S FABULOUS.

TOMMIE: I MEAN, LOOK, IT'S ALMOST PINK UNDERNEATH.

RICHARD: YEAH, THIS YELLOW'S REALLY NICE...

TOMMIE: I KNOW.

TOMMIE: BEAUTY CAN BE FOUND IN SO MANY THINGS.

FOR ME, IT HAPPENS TO BE FOUND IN THE GARDEN.

AND MY WORK IS VERY BOTANICAL-BASED.

IT REALLY IS AN EXTENSION OF MY JOY OF THE NATURAL WORLD.

DAVID: RICHARD WAS THINKING ABOUT THE SPACE

AND WHAT WOULD THE SUBJECT OF THIS INSTALLATION BE.

RICHARD: STEVE AND ANN BAILEY WERE BENEFACTORS AND PATRONS

THAT GAVE ME CARTE BLANCHE TO DO WHAT I WANTED.

STEPHEN: RICHARD BEGAN USING LINE DRAWING.

THAT'S USUALLY WHERE HIS INITIAL IDEAS FIRST TAKE HOLD.

RICHARD: AS I STARTED OUT,

I WANTED TO HAVE A SENSE OF PLACE, AND THEN I REALIZED THAT

I WAS TALKING ABOUT A CYCLE OF LIFE.

STEPHEN: HE HAD HIS TEAM

BASICALLY TRACE HIS PUDDLE-LIKE LINE DRAWINGS

AND SUPERIMPOSE THOSE ONTO SHEETS OF METAL

THAT WERE THEN CUT OUT,

KEEPING THE DRAWINGS' EXPRESSIVE QUALITY ALIVE

IN THE FINAL SCULPTURE.

RICHARD: THERE IS A COMBINATION OF THESE SORT OF STEEL DRAWINGS

FILLED IN WITH GLASS,

AS WELL AS FREEFORM BLOWN OR HOT WORK GLASS.

JAMES: THE PIECE WAS SEVEN TONS,

ONE OF THE LARGEST SCULPTURAL PROJECTS,

I THINK, THAT'S EVER BEEN DONE IN GLASS.

SO WE HAD ALL THESE PHYSICAL ISSUES OF WEIGHT AND FRAGILITY

THAT WE HAD TO SOLVE.

STEPHEN: THESE FRAGMENTS WERE ASSEMBLED

AND BROUGHT TO THE MUSEUM,

BUT IT INVOLVED TRUCKS THAT WERE TRYING TO MAKE IT UNDER BRIDGES,

HAVING TO BE CRANED OVER THE MUSEUM'S WALLS

AND THEN WHEELED INTO OUR SPACE.

RICHARD: I WORKED ON THE PROJECT FOR FIVE YEARS.

AND TODAY "THE CYCLE OF LIFE:

WITHIN THE POWER OF DREAMS AND THE WONDER OF INFINITY"

IS A PERMANENT INSTALLATION AT THE KNOXVILLE MUSEUM OF ART.

DAVID: IT WAS AN INCREDIBLY AMBITIOUS

AND KIND OF IMPLAUSIBLY AMBITIOUS IDEA TO TAKE ON,

AND HE PULLED IT OFF.

STEPHEN: "CYCLE OF LIFE" UNFOLDS, FROM THE FIRST SECTION,

THIS PRIMORDIAL FOREST-- GLASS TREE TRUNKS BASED ON

THE TULIP POPLAR TREE FROM EAST TENNESSEE.

RICHARD: NUMBER TWO IS "EMERGENCE."

SO IT'S A YOUNG COUPLE AS THEY EMERGE FROM THE FOREST

OR EMERGE INTO LIFE.

STEPHEN: NEXT, YOU SEE BIRDS ASCEND UP INTO THE HEAVENS

IN A SECTION THAT'S CALLED "FLIGHT."

RICHARD: "FLIGHT" IS SORT OF THE GROWTH

FROM ADOLESCENCE TO THE NEXT STEP OF LIFE.

THE FOURTH ELEMENT IS "DESIRE."

SO IT'S A COUPLE GETTING READY TO EMBRACE.

NUMBER FIVE IS THE "TREE OF LIFE."

IT'S VERY SYMBOLIC IN VERY MANY CULTURES,

ABOUT JUST SORT OF THE PROGRESSION OF LIFE.

STEPHEN: THE FINAL SECTION IS "CONTEMPLATION," AND IT'S

A MONUMENTAL HUMAN HEAD

IN TWO PLANES THAT HAVE BEEN DISJOINTED

AND, I THINK, SIGNALING THE END OF LIFE,

WHEN THAT HUMAN SHELL BREAKS DOWN AND THE SPIRIT IS RELEASED.

RICHARD: THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT THE PROJECT IS

THAT THERE IS A 22-FOOT GAP

IN BETWEEN ONE WALL AND THE SECOND WALL,

SO IT'S LIKE STUTTERING.

I HAD TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO LINK YOUTH AND MATURITY TOGETHER.

AND SO THAT ENDED UP BEING THE SOLUTION OF "SKY."

STEPHEN: "SKY" IS SUSPENDED FROM THE MUSEUM'S CEILING,

AND IT'S AS IF THE SPIRIT MOVES BACK INTO THIS ELEMENTAL STATE

THAT THEN LEADS AROUND TO THE BEGINNING AGAIN AT THE FOREST.

ARAM: THE KNOXVILLE MUSEUM OF ART WAS ONE OF THE FIRST PLACES

THAT I CAME TO WHEN I WAS STILL LEARNING ABOUT KNOXVILLE,

BEFORE I HAD EVEN BEEN OFFERED THE JOB OF MUSIC DIRECTOR.

AND I REALLY FELT COMPLETELY DRAWN IN

TO THIS METAPHYSICAL WORLD THAT RICHARD JOLLEY CREATED.

THERE'S THIS TRADITION OF MUSIC BEING INSPIRED BY ART.

I MEAN, THE MOST WELL-KNOWN BEING

MUSSORGSKY'S "PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION."

AND I SAT THERE THINKING,

THIS IS BEGGING TO BE TURNED INTO A PIECE OF MUSIC.

WE CAME UP WITH THIS IDEA OF,

WHAT IF THE KNOXVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND THE MUSEUM

COLLABORATE TO COMMISSION

A NEW PIECE OF MUSIC FOR OUR AUDIENCES AND OUR CITY?

MICHAEL SCHACHTER WAS THE COMPOSER I KNEW

THAT WE COULD TRUST WITH IT.

YOU WALK IN THROUGH THE DOOR,

YOU CAN'T HELP BUT BE AWARE OF "CYCLE OF LIFE"...

MICHAEL: ARAM HAD ME COME DOWN TO KNOXVILLE TO SEE

THE PIECE OF ART.

ARAM: LITERALLY LARGER THAN LIFE IN A WAY...

MICHAEL: IT'S JUST THE WAY YOU HAVE TO LOOK UP AT IT

THAT IT SORT OF FILLS THE SPACE AND COMMANDS ATTENTION

IN A WAY THAT WAS REALLY STRIKING,

AND IT WAS VERY INSPIRING FOR MY EARLIEST IDEAS

WHAT THE PIECE WOULD BE.

YOU KNOW, ONE THING THAT STRUCK ME IS THAT

THE "CONTEMPLATION" FIGURE, IT'S IN TWO PLANES.

THERE'S A SPLIT RIGHT DOWN THE CENTER HEMISPHERE OF THE HEAD.

ARAM: OH. INTERESTING. MICHAEL: YEAH.

I WAS THINKING ABOUT THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF MY OWN BRAIN

IN WRITING THIS IN THAT I FELT A LOT OF INTERNAL TUG OF WAR,

MUCH AS THIS FIGURE MIGHT HAVE.

MICHAEL: ARAM AND I STARTED TALKING ABOUT THE PIECE

AS A CONCERTO,

AS SOMETHING HAVING A SINGLE SOLOIST AND THE ORCHESTRA.

I FEEL LIKE RICHARD HAS THE CONCEPT OF THE CYCLE OF LIFE

APPORTIONED OUT OVER SEVEN DIFFERENT MOVEMENTS,

SO I DECIDED I WANTED TO USE THAT SEVEN-MOVEMENT STRUCTURE

AS A WAY OF THINKING ABOUT MY OWN WORK.

THE THIRD MOVEMENT IS CALLED "FLIGHT."

THIS IS THE SORT OF POINT OF ADOLESCENCE.

IT EXPLODES IN A KIND OF FLURRY OF FREEDOM AND ROBUSTNESS.

TESSA: THERE'S MUSIC THAT I ASSOCIATE

WITH THESE SCULPTURES NOW.

I JUST THINK IT'S INCREDIBLE--

THE DIFFERENT, YOU KNOW, PARTS OF MY SOUL IT SORT OF AWAKENS

WHEN I LOOK AT IT.

MICHAEL: THE SIXTH MOVEMENT IS CALLED "CONTEMPLATION,"

AND I DID SET THIS AS A SOLO CADENZA.

IT'S DARKER.

IT'S ONE OF THE MOST DISSONANT MOVEMENTS OF THE CONCERTO,

AND IT ALSO IS THE ONE THAT'S MOST SELF-REFLECTIVE AS WELL,

THAT IN THIS MOMENT OF THE CONTEMPLATION,

THE SOLOIST IS THINKING BACK ABOUT THEIR LIFE.

RICHARD: IT TRULY IS INSPIRING.

THERE IS SORT OF A COMBINING

OF THE PLASTIC AND PERFORMING ARTS

TO HAVE A LITTLE BIT MORE OF A HOLISTIC VIEW OF ART.

ARAM: YEAH, I GOT GOOSEBUMPS.

IT REALLY SOUNDED LIKE THE ART LOOKS.

NOW I CAN JUST GET TO LOOK FORWARD

TO WHEN THIS PIECE PREMIERES

WITH THE KNOXVILLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

AND ADD ONE MORE LAYER OF ENERGY TO "THE CYCLE OF LIFE."

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