Storyteller Amy Ammons Garza tells tales of growing up in the mountains in a house with no electricity or plumbing. As a child she sat at the foot of her grandfather and listened to tales of how her ancestors, seven generations past, were a part of those who traveled to Western North Carolina in the 1700s and settled the isolated mountains. His stories intrigued her, and so she stored them away in her heart until she grew up and began to write about them. Now she has twelve books, three of which are a trilogy of her family's heritage in the NC mountains. "Our family struggled to make a living," says Amy. "They did as others... gardened, picked wild berries, cut timber, worked on the railroad, made corn liquor...anything to put food on the table and shoes on their feet. And in among it all, they had love stories, fun stories, faith stories, how to 'made do,' and how to 'keep on keeping on! '" Amy is now turning her storytelling into audio "slices of life" which you can listen to within this website .
Amy is also a publisher for others who want to share their talents.
For 30 years, the Ammons Sisters performed mountain storytelling with spontaneous art for the general public and in school settings. As Amy told the stories, Doreyl spontaneously illustrated them on two large 4' x 6' easels, bringing the stories alive before the eyes of the audience. "All the stories are based on true experiences of our family," says Amy. "My sister and I were carriers of our heritage, hoping to instill in our audience the knowledge that we are all different, yet wonderful in our own way; that 'story' is a way to preserve and honor our past to help us know that we are each a link to the future of the family of mankind!"
The Ammons Sisters are cofounders of Catch the Spirit of Appalachia, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization —winner of the 2013 mountain heritage award—located in Jackson County, Western North Carolina. The sisters and a board of 20 members worked for more than 30 years to save the heritage of their region. Today the nonprofit is established in Asheville, NC, continuing to work to save the music of Appalachia.
Currently, Amy and Doreyl use their skills to save the heritage of those who want to save their own stories by offering their services in publishing & illustration:
Imprint: Catch the Spirit of Appalachia