Building Community with Folkskills

By | March 30, 2017
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Folkskills is based in Anchorage, Alaska

How many people do you know that have the skills to process animal sinew, forage for ingredients to make pine pitch glue, and carve an obsidian point to make their own fully functional, primitive-style arrow?

Probably not many, if any. (Even though we can all agree that’s some seriously badass talent, right?)

Folkskills is a new organization that is bringing back the art of making things, building things, and doing things ourselves by learning from other people in our community. It connects community members with traditional “folk skills” to people who want to learn in a hands-on environment. The web startup aims to act as a community watercooler, bringing Alaskans together to talk about traditional know-how. It’s the stuff that many of our great-great-grandparents knew, but somewhere along the line stopped being passed down generationally. 

John Moriarty, founder of Folkskills, set out to “create a tool that makes it easier for people to share their skills with their communities and to build that culture of learning and collaboration from the ground up.” And that’s exactly what Moriarty has accomplished by coordinating a way to share tangible talents with fellow humans in a format that kicks touch screens and white boards to the curb.

It’s learning for people who hate sitting in classrooms. It’s teaching for people who’ve honed a traditional skill that they’re anxious to share. And growth for people who have been seeking a way to get back to basics and build a firsthand connection with each other and our incredible state.

“It's taking the DIY movement to the next level by joining others to strengthen the sense of community,” said Natasha Price, a Folkskills teacher. Price teaches classes like Pasta Making 101 and a peony flower crown workshop where she shares her passion for cooking and creating in a small, personal setting.

Folkskills isn’t just looking for students - it’s also looking for teachers all around the state who have a drive to share their talents. You don’t need to have a degree to be a Folkskills teacher - all you need is a unique, traditional skill and want to share your energy and knowledge with others. Anyone can post and host a one-time class in their home (or wherever they prefer) and anyone can sign up for that class.

Since the class selection is entirely built by people in the community who are willing to teach, it’s always changing. Whether it’s backyard chicken keeping, food preservation or pasta making, if you’re looking for a great way to spend an afternoon, you never know what fun and unique classes you’ll find on  It’s absolutely worth a look.

Article from Edible Alaska at
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