Lesson Plans:
Craft Life

Subject(s)/Grade(s): Career Development, 8-12
Related Subjects: Language Arts, Social Science

Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will become familiar with the Craft Revival website as a resource for historic research and understanding of economic development of western North Carolina.
  2. Students will develop an understanding of the steps required in becoming a craft maker.
  3. Students will learn first-hand about the crafts profession from a practicing craft maker.
  4. Students will discern if they would like to pursue training or education in the crafts of western Appalachia.

Teacher Planning

  • This lesson can be completed in 4-5 class periods.
  • The teacher will need to familiarize him/herself with the Craft Revival website.
  • The students will need some exposure to career exploration and self-interest surveys.
  • Students will need to have access to the internet.


  • Information about craft makers in the student’s community.
  • Computer Lab
  • Printer
  • Internet access to the Craft Revival website


Pre-Activity: Work with your school’s guidance counselor to give students a self-interest survey prior to the lesson. This may help students identify the craft they are most interested in researching and in developing questions for the modern craft maker they will interview.

Access the Craft Revival website and instruct students to do the following:

1. Read The Story section of the website to help students gain context for the Craft Revival in western North Carolina.

  • What was life like for a craft maker in the early days of the movement?
  • How did people become craft makers? What was their training?
  • Who were the producers and the buyers?
  • How did craft makers “market” their products?
  • How did industrially produced products impact the marketing and sale of locally produced items?

2. Choose one of the crafts from The Crafts page.

Read about the craft for background information.

Use your historic understanding of the craft to develop questions for a modern-day craft maker devoted to making the craft researched.

Invite crafts persons/musicians into the classroom to discuss their craft and ask the following questions. After the visit, ask students to reflect on the life-style and training of the craftsmen and women interviewed and to discern if this is something they think they would like to one day pursue.

  1. What is life like as a craft maker (i.e., what are the hours, can you make a living, what are the challenges)?
  2. How did he/she become a craft maker?
  3. What training did he/she receive and do they take continuing education classes?
  4. Who buys their products?
  5. What are the challenges and joys of being a craft maker?
  6. Is he/she an artisan full-time or part-time and why?

4. Extension Activity: Work with the art teacher to create some of the crafts researched (i.e., pottery, basketry, weaving). Play a tape or CD of the music of western North Carolina while doing the crafts to further develop the atmosphere.

5. Extension Activity: Give students extra credit for visiting a craft fair and interviewing 1-2 craftsmen/women (same questions as above) and 1-2 visitors (what attracts them to handmade crafts, are they willing to pay more for something handmade vs. mass produced, etc.). Students can also reflect on their own opinions of the crafts they see – are they attracted to the crafts? Why, why not? Would they pay for something hand-made? Why, why not?


  1. Students will keep a journal based on their findings;
  2. Students will summarize their observations by creating questions for a visiting crafts person/musician.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

  • Career Development Objectives 1.02, 1.04, 3.01, 6.01

-Submitted by Jennie Ashlock, GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness & Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), Jackson County, NC