Front Porch: Crafted

Handspun and commercially spun yarns dyed by Dede Styles on display at the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Asheville, North Carolina, July 2008. Photograph from the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

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Front Porch: Crafted

by Marcie Cohen Ferris
Southern Cultures, Vol. 28, No. 1: Crafted

“For over six decades, craft has pulled me into a troubled and complicated American South where objects offer hints of meaning and voices of long-ago makers visible in stitches and thumbprints.”

In this ruptured time in our nation and around the world, as we witness the rapidly diminishing window of opportunity for climate-related action, the increasingly divisive and violent space of American politics, the movement for racial justice, shifting economies, and the tenacious hold of the pandemic and the warning of more to come, we have gathered voices here to offer perspectives on craft, creativity, reclamation, and repair. Katy Clune and Julia Gartrell share a series of poignant portraits and interviews with repair professionals across North Carolina in “Art & Alchemy,” bringing focus to the gifted people we turn to for their expert abilities to restore everyday essential objects in our lives—from shoes to clocks, china, tires, cane seats, boats, and more. The authors note, “Among so many other things, the pandemic exposed our need to be more self-reliant and laid bare how much about our country needs fixing.” As Clune points out, it’s no coincidence that President Biden’s major infrastructure program, the “Build Back Better” bill, addresses this “brokenness.” She emphasizes, “This moment calls for repair.”