horner-fiddle-croppedJean Horner has distinguished himself as an extraordinary musical craftsman, but he didn’t stray far from home in doing it. For over 40 years he’s made fiddles and mandolins full-time in a shop near the cabin where he was raised in the Westel community on the Cumberland Plateau. He’s perfected his self-taught skills through resourcefulness and trial-and-error, and his hundreds of instruments have proven their quality in the hands of serious and demanding players, mostly traditional musicians in the surrounding region. Horner has demonstrated his craft in the Tennessee program at the 1986 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and occasionally at other public settings. Horner states, “I was hooked on the fiddle from age fourteen, and it never let me go. I learned from everyone that I could around my community, and I feel that is what Austin is doing too, much like myself.” Austin Derryberry, his chosen apprentice, has demonstrated an especially high level of commitment and determination to learn from Mr. Horner.  The master and apprentice plan possible demonstrations at Breaking Up Winter and the Museum of Appalachia’s Fall Homecoming.

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