Hand whittled and carved toys, walking sticks and more atFolk Festival


Rex Childress has been busy preparing for the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival July 15-16 at Prather Coliseum on NSU campus. The 2016 Festival theme is “Emerging Artists,” celebrating the many outstanding new artists keeping traditions alive in Louisiana.

Rex grew up with a pocket knife in his hand, first as a whittler and, for the last twenty years as a carver. What does Rex carve? Anything you possibly might need! For several years, Rex taught carving workshops for kids using a bar of soap in place of wood to make it easy for participants to shape and even reshape a carved object without cutting a major vein in their hands and bleeding to death. As part of his enthusiasm for carving, Rex has shown how the carver can do with a wide variety of woods including Mesquite, Walnut, Bois’ arc, Pecan and White Oak. Recently, Rex carved sample arrow points from mesquite and gave his students an understanding of the different shapes and uses of points. He also carves small tractors, equipment, birds, animals, tree spirits, walking sticks and crosses.

Nearly four dozen craftspeople have been invited to display and discuss their traditional work on the Saturday of the festival from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Expect displays of furniture, art, toys, dolls, jewelry, whips, filé, handmade musical instruments, baskets, weaving, pottery, beadwork and more.

Two day all-events passes may be purchased in advance through July 12 at a discounted price of $12 per person.  Children age 12 and under receive free admission.  Tickets can be purchased at the event beginning at 4:30 p.m. on July 15 and at 8 a.m. on July 16.  Ticket for adults are $5.50 per person for Friday, $8.50 per person for all events on Saturday and $5.50 per person for an evening pass after 5 p.m. on Saturday.For more information on purchasing tickets, call 318-357-4332.