The Story

This website tells the story of the historic Craft Revival and its impact on western North Carolina. During the Revival, North Carolina makers shaped clay, in turn shaping the attitudes and values that contribute to today’s appreciation of the handmade object. Makers wove cotton, linen, and wool, weaving a sense of community that contributes to a strong sense of place. Craftsmen hammered metal, forging partnerships to effect change. Artisans worked with wood, building a regional economy based on individual talent and entrepreneurship. Craft Revival activities emphasized quality, individuality, and workmanship. These values remain evident in a 21st-century region that is both dynamic and progressive.

The Craft Revival story takes place in the mountain South, a part of the country that became known as the Southern Highlands. While most craftsmen worked within their home communities, craft promoters crisscrossed the region. Frances Goodrich in Exchange for Mountain Handicraft, put it this way:

It is not always plain going in such mountain journeys….[We traveled by] railroads, in coaches, and in the engineer’s cab; driving in motors; in rough wagons, and light carts and buggies; riding divers horses and mules, and, when all other ways failed, taking the “footpath way.”

In the last decade of the 19th century and first of the 20th, craft promoters traveled by wagon or on horseback. Only later were there cars (called “motors” at first) and roads passable enough to make them usable. Long distance travel was by train.

Meet The People of the Craft Revival and follow their travels through the region. Learn about The Crafts and link to Resources, including a bibliography, lesson plans, and today’s craft organizations.