The Renaissance Folk Guild of Conover brings back timeless skills

Kate Wimberly
Staff Writer

What began serendipitously as two separate but similar business plans, brought three public education teachers together for the opportunity to see their passion come to fruition. Through patience and persistence, three high school teachers, Melissa Bradshaw, Joanne Chase, and Marilyn Johnson created the The Renaissance Folk Guild after decades of vision and planning.

“Renaissance is about bringing things back, a rebirth of skills,” shared Melissa Bradshaw.

Located in downtown Conover at 128 West 1st Street, The Renaissance Folk Guild brings together people with a wide range of interests and skills to offer a variety of classes: herbal skin care, soap making, essential oils, greeting cards, bread making, painting, knitting, crocheting, upcycling (creative reuse), and sewing, to name a few. They hope to add jewelry making and cooking to this list soon.

“If you can envision your family and consumer sciences class in school, but on steroids, also with the art and STEM piece,” shared Marilyn Johnson.

“We love what we do and we love sharing that—teaching people how to make things,” stated Melissa Bradshaw.

They went on to share some of the history of quilt-making and why they are passionate about what they do.

“Quilts were made to mark points of the Underground Railroad. They would be hung to air out as a signal. We’ve both been sewing since we were children, taught by our mothers and grandmothers. We also took home-ec, which was a great opportunity to build on our skills. It’s also a great little club. You can get help with your projects. We have people that come in to sew. This is our downtime, our relaxing time, our girl time. We were doing this at home but now we get to do it together and invite others to be a part of it. It’s great company,” stated Melissa Bradshaw and Joanne Chase.

The Renaissance Folk Guild is open three evenings a week from 6pm-8pm and on Saturdays, although people can often be found there earlier after school. Community members are invited to come in with the materials for their latest project to work with a loving community or to get help with their project. For specific classes, prices vary depending on the class. This is an excellent opportunity for most ages, and for those who wish to learn a new skill, refurbish an old one, or simply work on projects with a community. Sewing equipment is available for use and no experience is needed.

The founders reported that next week, there is a class on making homemade greeting cards, and they are offering a “Make Your Own Pasta Night,” where couples can come make their own pasta, then take it home for a quiet romantic dinner, time to be announced.

Call 704-325-3995 or visit the The Renaissance Folk Guild facebook page for the most up to date information on classes and hours of opening.