potter
The Potter - Michael Snyder

"I love throwing. Working with what is basically mud and transforming it into something useful feels like magic. It’s very tactile and it’s kind of like a motorcycle, where you’re doing something, and you’re fully in the moment, and experiencing something that’s beyond language. It’s a great feeling. And you have to learn to let go; you have to accept that what you are making is not how you initially pictured it. No matter how much you learn to control it, things move in their own way. As you get older, being a potter is pretty physically demanding. So, you have to be resilient. But, if I ever get depressed, I think about how far my work has gone. I have pots all over the world. And on any given day there might be zero to ten thousand people using my pot at that given moment. And you never know how long these things could last. Pottery could get broken tomorrow or last six thousand years. And just knowing that’s possible helps me get through the slow moments."
-Josh Brown, Zihlman, Maryland

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$500.00

Banjo
The Banjo Player - Michael Snyder

"If it has strings on it, you know, I can kind of beat a melody out of it.  I started out on the banjo.  That would have been when I was seven.  So that's, you know, thirty-three years ago now.  I learned from my father.  Actually, my father heard my mother's father on the radio before they were ever married.  And my father heard that and said, ‘Wow, I have to learn how to do that!’  So, he sought this man out. But as time went on, he I guess developed more interest in my mother than in the banjo. They eventually get married and here I am as a result!  It's kind of a strange thing, but I have to say, everything good that's ever happened in my life has happened as a result of the banjo.  I think it's just a part of my calling, I'm going to preach and I'm going to pick.  My father started to come down with Alzheimer's in 2009. And I had read the connection between music and Alzheimer's and how it can really be a beneficial thing. So, I sought out shows at the local coffee shop. My father was himself when he had the banjo in his hands.  It gets you through the difficult times.  That's what music does, I think."
-Reverend Frankie Revelle, LaVale, Maryland

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$500.00

 

Butcher
The Butcher - Michael Snyder

"Well, we’re a whole animal butchery.  Which means that we try to utilize the whole carcass of the animal, from snout to tail.  I’m proud of that.  I think that’s an Appalachian value.  I was always taught that it was important not to waste.  for me it’s a family trade.  My grandfather grew up in a butcher shop.  His father was a butcher.  And his father’s father was a butcher in the Netherlands.  And then it skipped a generation.  But I picked it back up.  My grandfather is very proud that somebody is still doing it.  So, it’s very gratifying.  But it’s hard too.  This is an old-world craft.  You do have to be physically tough to do this.  It takes its toll mainly on your hands and your wrists.  And small business out here is tough.  But I think its strangely and proudly Appalachians to tough it out and keep pushing through even when you’ve been told countless times that it won’t work.  It’s kind of a dying art.  But I want to keep it going."
-Pete Pacelli, Capon Bridge, West Virginia

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$500.00

Climber
The Climber - Michael Snyder

“I started climbing in high school with my best friend.  And we would go all around this area.  This part of the Appalachians, it’s not a place that a lot of people come to climb, but it actually has a lot of world class climbing.  It’s a good place to learn.  I’m teaching my son to climb.  In fact, I was reading a climbing book recently. And it was talking about how humans are climbers before anything else, before they even walk or roll over or anything. Children, infants, are more developed in their upper body right off the bat.  The first thing they do before they walk is to pull themselves up on a table.  So, I think climbing is just one of those urges that humans have.  If they see some big, dramatic feature, they just want to get on top of it.  So, I mean, there's very little that's more natural or traditional than climbing.
-Mark Bowling, Coopers Rock, West Virginia

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$500.00

drag racers
The Drag Racers - Michael Snyder

“Drag racing is generational here, you know?  This is a hilly area, but where there are places with long, straight roads, or ‘flats’ as we sometimes call them, you can bet there are people racing.  My husband taught me how to race.  He’s raced pretty much his whole life. I have anxiety, but when you're in a car, and you have to concentrate on shifting and watching what all the different parts are doing, then everything else disappears.  Even though the race is only a few seconds, it feels so much longer.  It’s just total blank space.  And it’s a rush.  And there is so much that goes into it.  The tuning is especially complicated, just calculating every aspect of what you’re going to be doing for those few seconds and trying to get it just right.  There are so many variables, like the altitude, and the temperature, and the weather, and if there is already rubber down.  So, you have to calculate very carefully.  But if you're not a good driver, it's not going to work out.  You have to be really focused.  And a little bit nuts!  Now I getting my daughter involved.  And surprisingly, it's much more diverse than I would have ever thought. There's a good number of women drivers out there.  It’s a male-dominated sport but most guys are supportive, like ‘Wow, a girl is doing this.  That’s really cool.’  Generally, folks want to help you out.  Because, if they are going to beat you, they want to beat you at your best.
-Jerilyn Durst & Annika Murphy, Grantsville, Maryland

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$500.00

genealogist
The Genealogist - Michael Snyder

“Both my grandmother and grandfather were descended from the original family that settled here back in 1648.  So, my family has been in this valley for a long, long time.  I moved away for college but came back when I found this piece of land up on the hill behind town.  There was no electricity and no running water.  But when I sat down there for the first time, I felt roots growing out of my butt.  And I knew I wanted to raise my kids there.  We had a huge garden and the place was covered in berries.  And we had a good spring that we would walk to get to water.  Having to go and get it made me appreciate it so much more.  My granddaughter who lived in Philadelphia once came to visit. And she says, Granny, how do you stand it here without a bathroom? And I said, how many people get to see the stars on the way to the bathroom at night?  I just loved it.  I felt so close to the source.  I was born during the worst of the Great Depression.  But people were always kind to me here.  We were looked after.  When I was a child, I asked God to show me a way to show my love for the people of this place.  And I think, for me, that was becoming the genealogist at the library here in town.  For many years I collected photographs and stories and eventually filled the shelves of the library with binders.  And I realized then that I just didn’t want anybody to be forgotten.  So, I learned to be curious, and to be quiet, and to listen.  Before you arrived, I was sitting here wishing that I could hear the birds a bit better.  The highway came through in the early 70s and changed things out here.  But even now, I am still able to experience a primal sense of belonging here.  The birds are still here.  And the river is still here.  It rises and it falls, but it has been in that riverbed for a long time.  It was here when my ancestors were here.  It was here when the Native Americans were here.  And it was here a long, long time before that.”
-Ina Hicks, Friendsville, Maryland

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$500.00

Ice Fisherman
The Ice Fisherman - Michael Snyder

“In the summer the fish will spread out anywhere in the lake.  But right now, they are down deep and usually grouped together in schools.  Which explains why you want to be in the middle, fishing over the ice instead of along the bank.  But, you know, ninety percent of fishing is comradery and hanging out with your buddy.  You shoot the shit and you get away for a bit.  And hey, if you catch a fish you got a meal at the end of the day too.  I think that’s the secret to fishing.  I love fishing no matter if we are here on the shore or out there on the ice.  We will just crack a beer, you know… enjoy ourselves.  The fishing just happens.”
-Casey Camp, Deep Creek Lake, Maryland

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$500.00

The Kayakers
The Kayakers - Michael Snyder

“I grew up ten miles north of Cumberland, Maryland on Bottle Run.  Back in prohibition days they used to make booze there and my property is right where the creek comes out of the ground.  We used to go fishing all the time and canoeing and that sort of thing.  ‘Float trips’, they would call it around here.  I was 13 when I really got started kayaking.  You look at the way that rivers were used and how all of the places pop up on the map in Appalachia based on where water is.  Kayaking is this way of understanding the landscape and how all of this place comes together through the movement of water.”
-Seth Moessinger & Nathan Forbeck, Youghiogheny River, Pennsylvania

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$500.00

mountain dulcimer player
The Mountain Dulcimer Player & Ballad Singer - Michael Snyder

“I grew up on a farm in Kentucky and I just always remember there being music.  We were very isolated, so we did have to entertain ourselves.  And, so from being an infant on, my dad would play and sing.  My parents would always have friends over and everybody would bring food and just play all night long.  And so, most of the songs that I know, especially the traditional ones, are just the ones that I heard growing up.  A lot of those songs were really sad and depressing.  But that is what life was like in Appalachia.  When the settlers came over, they didn’t bring instruments because they could only bring the bare necessities.  But they did bring songs from their homes in Europe.  And so they formed the mountain dulcimer as an instrument to accompany those ballads.  I think that people have always needed a way to express themselves.  That was just their way of passing stories down.”
-Amy Lough, Frostburg, Maryland

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$500.00 

pit master
The Pit Master - Michael Snyder

“This one I call The Beast.  I got the propane tank from the junkyard.  The fella there didn’t want to charge me for it.  He said that he would just trade for a couple of free dinners.  I said, ‘I tell you what.  You and your wife can come down and have free dinners all summer long.  It’s on me!’.  So, I used a four-inch grinder and cut the doors and everything.  Yeah, it took a while.  It nearly killed me.  But I’m proud of this because my hands are all over it.  It could feed the whole community.  I load it mostly with hickory and oak.  And I like to smoke the meat hot and fast, at about 275 degrees.  I have my own sauces too, because I never could find a barbeque sauce that I liked.  Over the years I’ve had a restaurant and a concession truck.  Now I do catering.  I’m a pastor too.  New Day Church of the Brethren.  It’s this nice place down between two hollers; kindest, friendliest people you would ever want to meet.  I cook for them sometimes.  And, you know, the thing I love most is seeing people enjoy the food.  I never make any real money doing this.  It’s really a labor of love. And I love making people happy.  My food makes people happy.  And I love that.”
-Dan Sterns, Moorefield, West Virginia

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$500.00

seasonal chef
The Seasonal Chef - Michael Snyder

“What we’re trying to do here is cook food that is sourced locally and seasonally and also draws on Appalachian traditions.  So, we focus on a degree of preservation, but we are also trying to move things forward and get creative with what is available to us.  Probably 95% of what we make is locally sourced.  We have a few things that we get elsewhere, like vinegar and sugar, but even those things come from nearby.  And, you know, Appalachia is, traditionally, the sort of place that tries to take care of itself.  So, there was plenty of knowledge here that I was able to draw from about making local food.  I started working in restaurants in college, and then apprenticed as a chef and volunteered in places like Nashville and Portland.  But I came back here when I decided to start my own thing.  There’s so much opportunity here:  cheap rent, fertile land, good people.  So, I thought, let’s make it happen here.”
-Josh Horevay, Cumberland, Maryland

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$500.00

songwriter
The Songwriter - Michael Snyder

“I’m originally from Baltimore.  I wound up coming out here to go to college. That transition was a culture shock.  I definitely had to learn how to make my own fun, because the pace of life is so much slower here.  So, even though I had started playing guitar when I was 12, I turned even more towards my music out here.  Music helps remind me that there are other people that feel the same way that I do.  I have dealt with bullying and heartbreak, and music has always helped with that.  It has been the one thing that has never left me.  It has never discriminated against me.  It has never made me feel less than I am.  It has always been pushing me to be a better person.  And so, with my song writing, I am trying to encourage other people to be themselves and to do what it is that makes them feel happy at the end of the day.  But I also address issues of race and discrimination.  Because I realized that before I am a musician, or an activist, or a friend, I am a black man.  When I was in my second year in college the Trayvon Martin shooting happened.  And that is when I become more unapologetically black.  I become more comfortable with talking about the issues that people of color face.  And the point is to make people feel uncomfortable sometimes.  We have to make sure that the conversation isn’t just getting brushed under the rug.  There are a lot of people doing this work here, but unfortunately, people with that intention often leave the area. But I’m not leaving.  I want to stay and make it better.  At the end of the day, all art is political.  Art is about making choices.”
-Ian Robinson, Cumberland, Maryland

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$500.00

swimming hole
The Swimming Hole - Michael Snyder

“I mean, I always grew up swimming outside.  I don’t even know if I could get back to some of the swimming holes that I went when I was a kid.  You were just sort of lead there.  And every family or friend group kind of had their own secret spot in the woods.  And some are sketchy or difficult to get to.  Like, you might have to go a long way through the woods, or even hike along the train tracks to get there.  But it was one of the main things that we did in the summer.  For a lot of people out this way, there are no public pools or anything like that.  But there are ponds and streams and rivers.  Often there’s usually rope swings or high jumps you can go off.  Some of them thirty feet or more.  Before going off of anything like that you’d usually swim around the hole and find the deep spot, and figure out how much water you needed to jump.  And now I bring the kids out here a lot.  This will get their energy out better than anything in the house.  When these kids are inside all day, watching TV or movies, you can tell the difference in their behavior or attitudes.  But, when we are out here, there is just something that chills us out.  And you always come home smelling like the river.”
-Derek, Crosby & Max Cutter, Savage River, Maryland

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$500.00

trapper
The Trapper - Michael Snyder

“So, you start here at the ankles and you skin downwards towards the head.  Once you get going, you can actually peel a fox’s skin right off.  And then, when you get to the ears and eyes, you have to carefully cut around them.  Once you’re done, your turn the skin inside out and put it on a fleshing beam.  Fleshing means removing all of the fat.  This’s the hard work.  But trapping itself is just so addictive.  Every night during trapping season I dream of it; I run through all of my traps in my mind.  I think the thrill is in the difficulty of it.  Because shooting an animal is pretty easy.  But, with a trap, it is just you and him and you have to be smart enough to actually catch him.  And you only get one chance with a fox.  Because he remembers.  So, it’s just the thrill of outsmarting something.  I think it’s just man versus nature.”

-Paul Roomsburg, Frenchburg, West Virginia

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$500.00