History buffs, educators and appreciators of the region’s crafts tradition will celebrate the official launch of the Craft Revival Project online collection Friday and Saturday, May 22-23, at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
“Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present” is a Web site and digital archive housed at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library. Project partners aim to create a Web-based digital history of the historic effort to revive handicrafts in the western part of North Carolina.
The library receives artifacts from its partners – John C. Campbell Folk School, the Museum of the Cherokee Indian, Penland School of Crafts, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center and the library’s own Special Collections. Items such as documents, letters, photographs, oral histories and other objects that tell the story of the craft revival from 1895 to 1945 are digitized and uploaded into the project database.
The celebration will begin at 6:30 p.m. May 22 at the Folk Art Center with a talk by Jeff Biggers, author of the popular history work “United States of Appalachia: How Southern Mountaineers Brought Independence, Culture and Enlightenment to America.” Robert Morgan, author of “Boone” and “Gap Creek,” says Biggers’ book “opens a new window on the complex history of the region called Appalachia.”
The book examines the region as a great contributor to the country’s cultural wealth, from Nina Simone, who went on to become an international diva with her blend of folk, jazz and Bach-motif riffs, to Sequoyah, the legendary Cherokee who invented the first syllabary in modern times. Biggers and Craft Revival Director Anna Fariello will use the Web site to talk about the influence of the region’s crafts on the development of the arts in America during the May 22 event.
From 9 a.m. until noon on May 23, the public will have an opportunity to learn more about what the Craft Revival Web site offers through an interactive workshop. Workstations will help K-12 teachers to facilitate their use of lesson plans, bibliographies and resources; a collections-based station will assist museum staffers in utilizing the Web site to identify objects in their collections; a digital station will outline basic scanning techniques; and a “scavenger hunt” station will allow participants to solve research questions using the site.
Teachers who wish to receive CEU credit should preregister by contacting HandMade in America’s Norma Bradley at (828) 298-8555 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hunter Library is sponsoring the launch in partnership with HandMade in America and the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The State Library of North Carolina and the Institute of Museum and Library Services have provided funding for the project.
The Folk Art Center is located at milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Asheville. For more information about the May 22-23 events, contact Anna Fariello at (828) 227-2499 or email@example.com. Visit the Craft Revival Web site at http://craftrevival.wcu.edu.
By Sarah Kucharski