Great Camp Sagamore

Tel: (315) 354-5311 |

Sagamore Main Lodge

Folk Artisans

folk artisans wagon wheel rugs

Artisans continue the folk arts tradition at Great Camp Sagamore, supported for nearly two decades by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA.)  These talented traditional artists who have learned from their forebears demonstrate for tours in July and August.

Visitors who see presentations at 10am or 1:30pm report a greatly enhanced tour experience.  Great Camp Sagamore is proud of its long partnership with NYSCA and is pleased to be a place where people can learn about traditional arts from these wonderful people.

Join us in 2013 for a tour featuring Sagamore guest artisans.

Tours are $16 for Adults and $8 for school-aged children.  Seniors receive a $2 discount.   Tours are always free for Sagamore members and for active military personnel.   

We look forward to welcoming you to Great Camp Sagamore, click here for a tour preview.


For nearly two decades, Great Camp Sagamore has hosted a wide variety of Folk Arts Demonstrations, supported in part by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.  Using the historic buildings themselves, these artisans provide insight into the many skills practiced by craftsmen at Sagamore from the Gilded Age right up to the present.  

For 2014, Sagamore is pleased to offer a full schedule of demonstrations, which are part of our 10am & 1:30pm guided public tours on selected dates in July and August.   View this year's schedule of demonstrators:

Aug 6 - 9, Bill Smith      Adirondack Pack Baskets
Aug 27 - 30, Bill Smith Rustic Furniture

Bill Smith, like his family before him, has always lived in the northern Adirondack woods, near Colton, NY.  He has been a hunter, fisherman, trapper, guide, logger, teacher and, more recently, a storyteller and singer/songwriter. Today he demonstrates the traditional craft of weaving strong and durable work baskets from hand-pounded native ash trees, which he first learned as a boy from Mohawk men who worked with his father in logging camps. He continues today to work with hand tools and forms that have been used for centuries by basket makers in the region. 

Bill is something of an institution at Sagamore, having taught courses on Adirondack flora and fauna, guiding, storytelling, rustic furniture and stick-carving, as well as pack basket-weaving.  This year, in addition to playing for numerous Road Scholar programs at Sagamore.

Date: TBD  Chris Woodward     Guide Boat Builder

Chris Woodward learned as a teenager when he “borrowed” an old Guide Boat that it was superior to any canoe he had ever tried and knew right then that he had to have one. Years later, he became an apprentice to the last of the traditional builders—Carl Hathaway and Ralph Morrow of Saranac Lake, NY—and has been working on these “Cadillacs of wooden boats” ever since. In 1991 he purchased Hathaway’s shop where today he repairs and restores old boats and builds about one new guideboat each year.

Among his many services to Sagamore over the years, Chris helped us to restore the original Caleb Chase Adirondack Guide Boat that is on display in the Carriage Shed and can be seen on the Sagamore tour.  

July 14 - 18, Chris Hubbard   Chair/Seat Caner

When teenager Christine (nee Ferris) Hubbard of Salem, NY, inherited a small wooden chair from her grandmother, she wanted to restore the original cane seat. After failed attempts to follow directions from a book, she consulted an old neighbor who was well known around her town for repairing chairs and weaving cane and splint seats. Chris has since mastered the popular Victorian craft of weaving seats from natural materials that experienced a strong revival after WWII. She now frequently reweaves broken chair seats and teaches others, including her son and students, this craft.

Chris has taught her caning to various groups at Sagamore, including our Grandmother & Granddaughter courses through Road Scholar.  She’s also repaired many of chairs used by guests throughout camp, as well as the seat in the restored Adirondack Guide Boat in the Carriage Shed.  

July 21-27, David Woodward     Blacksmith

David Woodward of Easy Street near Paul Smiths and Lake Clear, NY, today continues to practice the ancient craft of working iron, not as a farrier shoeing horses, but as a toolmaker. That means he makes and creates building hardware, lighting fixtures, and custom iron work like that made for the Adirondack Great Camps by staff blacksmiths of old. A seventh-generation native of the Adirondack High Peaks region, he is proud to own the anvil brought long ago from the old family farm in Vermont.

David has made or repaired countless tools and accessories at Sagamore over the years, from locks and hinges to fixtures and utensils.   He also donates a handmade piece for Sagamore’s annual fundraising benefit, the Grand Tour, each August.  David also works with Sagamore's Grandparent/child program, and has been involved with the NYS Art Teachers Association Summer Institute at Sagamore.   

June 27 - 28 & Aug 1 - 3 Helen Condon   Wool Rug Braider

Like her Nova Scotia-born grandmother before her, Helen Condon continues the long-honored tradition of making beautiful braided rugs from recycled scraps of wool. “Waste not, want not,” was the old rule, so rural women saved materials from well-worn clothing, blankets, even empty flour sacks to cut into strips, dye with a variety of colors and fashion into durable and beautiful floor coverings. From her studio in a converted Grange Hall in Parishville, NY, Helen now creates rugs large and small on commission and teaches as many younger people as are willing to learn about this vanishing craft.

Along with repairing many of Sagamore’s heritage rugs over the years, Helen also braids and donates an original-design rug each year, which is offered in the Silent Auction as part of Sagamore’s annual Benefit for Historic Preservation.  

Aug 15 - 17, Pat Smith    Cedar Canvas Canoe Builder

Pat Smith, of Naples, NY, is a professional boat-builder who learned his trade from a handful of the remaining traditional craftsmen in the North Country. The century-old technology of clenching thin planks to steamed frames and then covering the hull with a tight canvas skin yields an amazingly flexible and rugged craft, ideally-designed for the Adirondack region.  His West Hollow Boat Company, located on 70 acres of hardwood forest in the Bristol Hills wine country of the Finger Lakes Region, is one of the few places where these classic canoes are still meticulously-crafted by hand.

Pat has taught courses in boat-building, paddle-making and canoeing skills at Sagamore for many years, through the Adirondack Boat-Building and Waters Skills School which he helped to found more than a decade ago.  For 2013, Pat will be teaching in two Intergenerational courses through Road Scholar: a Canoeing and Boat-Building course for Grandparents and Grandchildren, and this year's newest program, Adirondack Family Week.   He will also be conducting a one-day Paddle-Making Workshop on July 6.    

Date: TBD,  Francoise Ouimet   Wagon Wheel Rug Weaver 

Growing up in a French American community near Cohoes, NY, Francoise eventually learned the craft of making small throw rugs from her Quebec-born mother-in-law. She began by using scrap materials from the textile mills that were an important industry in the area at the time. For forms, she uses wooden wheels from old carriages or wagons from which the hub and spokes have been removed and nails added to the rims to attach the individual strips of fabrics. This rural farmhouse tradition seems to have nearly disappeared today.

Tours are $16 for adults and $8 for school-aged children. Seniors receive a $2 discount. Tours are always free for Sagamore members and for active military personnel. 

Great Camp Sagamore, PO Box 40, Sagamore Road
Raquette Lake, NY 13436 |
Tel: (315) 354-5311 | Fax: (315) 354-5851

Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks, Inc. is an independent non-profit 501c3 Corp dedicated to the stewardship of Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake, NY.