Feature Articles

October 2013

Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts Offers Exhibit to Celebrate Piedmont Craftsmen’s 50th Anniversary

Piedmont Craftsmen will usher in the celebration of their 50th Anniversary with Born From the Hand: The Definitve Era, a show of works by Exhibiting Members who juried in to the guild during its first quarter century. The show will be held in the Womble Carlyle Gallery of the Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts in downtown Winston-Salem, NC. The opening reception will be on Friday, Oct. 18 from 5:30-7pm and the show will run through Nov. 30, 2013.

In 1963, a group of friends and acquaintances gathered around a kitchen table in Winston-Salem to discuss their love of crafts. From those first conversations came Piedmont Craftsmen - a guild of crafts artists and crafts collectors whose devotion to the handmade object and ties to the heritage of craft work in the region have spanned several generations. At its beginning, Piedmont Craftsmen created the guidelines for a juried exhibiting membership, educated the public to fine crafts and offered an annual crafts fair to meet the mission of promoting and selling members’ works. The guild has expanded its mission, over its 50 year history, by broadening its membership base, creating multiple revenue sources for exhibiting members, providing educational outreach in the public school system, and collaborating with local and regional organizations to create exhibitions and community programs.

“Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. is unique as a guild in that we were founded by both collectors and makers of fine craft. That ‘handshake’ has substantially shaped Piedmont Craftsmen’s culture as a membership based organization. Exhibiting Members and Supporting Members frequently tell us that Piedmont Craftsmen’s reputation for excellence is one of the main reasons they continue to be actively engaged with the organization,” says the guild’s CEO Jane Doub, who is herself an Exhibiting Member in Fiber.

While the birth of Piedmont Craftsmen can be seen as part of the larger mid-century American Craft movement, it is also particular to Winston-Salem’s place in the North Carolina Piedmont region. The tradition of making beautiful, functional, well crafted objects runs deep, encompassing the native cultures’ Catawba clay pots, the more European pottery traditions of the Seagrove community, and the fine furniture, textiles and metal work of Moravian settlers who established Salem, NC as a center for the production and trade of fine household good in the seventeenth century.

Piedmont Craftsmen’s Exhibiting Members employ traditional crafts media (clay, wood, glass, fibers/textiles, metals/jewelry, mixed media, leather, print and photography) in the creation of both functional and non-functional objects. With a wide range of prices and aesthetic points of view, the hallmark of the Members’ work lies in the execution of the object: well made and beautifully designed.

Over the past half century, hundreds of thousands of art collectors have looked to Piedmont Craftsmen’s Gallery, annual Fair and many exhibitions for a wide variety of handmade work in a wide range of media, styles and price ranges. Quality craftsmanship and excellent design have always been the hallmarks of Piedmont Craftsmen. The guild showcases some of America’s most talented contemporary fine craft artists, who are juried in to the guild through a rigorous 2 part application process. Most applicants are not selected for membership on their first attempt, and many applicants cite the extreme selectivity of the Jury Process as an important factor in their continuing association with the guild.

Piedmont Craftsmen’s year-long 50th anniversary celebration will officially begin with the Fair, held Nov. 16 and 17, 2013, at the Benton Convention Center in downtown Winston-Salem.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Center at 336/725-8916 or visit (www.rhodesartscenter.org) or contact Piedmont Craftsmen by calling 336/725-1516 or visit (www.piedmontcraftsmen.org).

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