The vanishing of old
ways in the North Country. Watch
(QuickTime video 1:20)
Some of the fine points
of weaving a pack basket. Watch
(QuickTime video 1:43)
On growing up lonesome.
Bill tells the one about...
Family variation of the
old ballad, Go Tell Aunt Rhody. Listen
Smith was the subject of this May 1, 2000 profile jointly
produced for radio by Traditional Arts in Upstate New York
and North Country Public Radio. Listen
of Colton is widely known throughout the Adirondacks and beyond
as a master of many traditional arts of the region. As a boy,
Bill was fascinated by the ash splint basket making of Mohawk
men who camped in the woods behind his family's house on their
way to work in the lumberwoods. Twenty years ago he took up
basket making himself.
In recent years he has also
been performing for a variety of audiences with a wide repertoire
of stories and songs about local life. At home he learned
stories of woodsmen and the woods from his logger father and
songs and poems from his mother.
He has concentrated on retelling
traditional stories and creating new ones. He has been written
about in numerous articles and books, including his own 1994
collection of stories called Tales from the Featherbed
and has produced six cassette recordings of his stories and
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