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Pat Collins and Henry Glassie and Face2Face host David Peck talk about Field Work, beauty, non-verbal cues, silence and listening, eliminating prejudice, and why art is always rooted in community.


Following the success of Song of Granite, Irish Director Pat Collins returns with his new documentary feature, Henry Glassie: Field Work, which will have its world premiere at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival.

Over the last 50 years the celebrated American Folklorist Henry Glassie has been writing in-depth studies of communities and their art. Inspired by the writings and ideas of Glassie – Field Work is an immersive and meditative documentary set among the rituals and rhythms of working artists across Brazil, Turkey, North Carolina and Ireland.  Glassie’s subject is folklore but his deep abiding love for the people who create it resonates throughout the film: “I don’t study people. I stand with people and I study the things they create.”

Collins’ achievement with Henry Glassie: Field Work is to bring these makers of art, in wood, fabric, yarn, paint, clay, metal, in song and story to our attention through their work, through the raw materials they shape into art objects and through the undeniable passion they carry in to their work.

In this way the work is accorded profound meaning for the societies out of which it is generated an aesthetic value which is transcendent. And under Collins’ ever mindful direction, the process of making something out of raw materials is luminously manifested in sequences which reflect their measured and focused approach. The actual real time process of making works, such as hands, of the physicality of that work, and the close attention the artist is bringing to the work.

About Pat and Henry:

Since 1999, Pat Collins has made over 30 films. His latest release Song of Granite, funded by the Irish Film Board, BAI, SODEC and Telefilm Canada, received its world premiere at SXSW 2017 and was the Irish nomination for best Foreign Language Oscar 2018. His other credits include Silence, which had its international premiere at London International Film Festival and the 3-part series 1916 (co-director), which aired on networks including the BBC and PBS. In 2012, the Irish Film Institute curated a mid-career retrospective of his work.

Henry Glassie is one of the most celebrated folklorists across the world. He has spent the last 50 years making in-depth studies of communities and their art. Henry, College Professor Emeritus at Indiana University Bloomington, has done fieldwork on five continents and written books on the full range of folkloristic interest, from drama, song, and story to craft, art, and architecture. Glassie began teaching in the Folklore Institute at Indiana University in 1970. In 1976, he became the chairman of the Department of Folklore and Folklife at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1988, he returned as a College Professor to Indiana University, where he had appointments in Folklore and Ethnomusicology, American Studies, Central Eurasian Studies, Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and India Studies. He retired in 2008.

Glassie has served as president of the American Folklore Society, the Vernacular Architecture Forum, and his local historic preservation organization, Bloomington Restorations Incorporated. He is married to fellow folklorist Pravina Shukla, a professor at Indiana University, who is an award-winning teacher and the author of two major books on dress and adornment: The Grace of Four Moons and Costume. Glassie and Shukla co-authored Sacred Art, an ethnographic account of creativity in northeastern Brazil. Glassie has four children and four grandchildren.

He published his first scholarly paper, an article on the Appalachian log cabin, in 1963. Since then, he has published over 100 articles and a steady stream of books.

Image Copyright: Harvest Films and Pat Collins. Used with permission.

F2F Music and Image Copyright: David Peck and Face2Face. Used with permission.

For more information about David Peck’s podcasting, writing and public speaking please visit his site here.

With thanks to Josh Snethlage and Mixed Media Sound.