Tag: North Carolina

Preserving Black Crafts and Legacies

Preserving Black Crafts and Legacies

Simiyha Garrison

This short essay is about Simiyha's research as a visiting curator at the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts, where she developed an exhibit, Southern Foodways: The African American Experience, that focused on foodways and Black crafts in Moravian communities. This exhibition serves as a resource and tool to educate and enlighten those who do not know about African American influence on the Moravian diets and the artifacts they used and created during this time period. This exhibition incorporates archival documents, collections housed at Old Salem Museum, and historic research to articulate once-hidden African American food stories.

Art & Alchemy

Art & Alchemy

Katy Clune and Julia Gartrell

This set of twenty interviews, conducted between September 2020 and July 2021, opens the workshop door and steps behind the customer counter to reveal the artistry, satisfaction, and expressions of care behind repair.

Natural Born Subversive

Natural Born Subversive

Laurin C. Guthrie

This article examines the life and craft practices of dyer Dede Styles. Styles's knowledge of place, advocacy for her community, and deep life of care add important context to the history of environmental defense and struggles in the Swannanoa region of Appalachia. This article is the result of a series of oral history interviews conducted in 2020-21 and is an effort to represent Styles in her own words and in the context of scholarship on the complex history of crafts in the region. A member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild like her grandmother, Styles demonstrates and sells through the guild, continuing the complex and dynamic tradition of hybridized and ever-evolving regional craft in Appalachia. A lifelong resident of Lytle Cove, Styles is also a fierce advocate for her community and bioregion, and this article demonstrates how her craft practice is both a vehicle for and expression of that relationship and advocacy.

An Edible North Carolina History

An Edible North Carolina History

Marcie Cohen Ferris, photographs by Baxter Miller
“I Was There”

“I Was There”

Justine Orlovsky-Schnitzler
The House Beautiful, or the House Good Enough

The House Beautiful, or the House Good Enough

Julia Ridley Smith, illustrations by Kristen Solecki
How to Build a Home

How to Build a Home

Cici Cheng

This photo essay presents the moments and changes that the artist and her family have experienced during the modification of their very first home in the United States. It is based on the artist's exploration of cultural identity and understanding of what home means to a person. Having arrived to the United States as a child and adjusted to a new culture and community, the artist reflects on her immigrant parents finally being on the path to achieving the American Dream, the contrast of living in two different cultures, and discovering her identity and place.

A Symbolic Project

A Symbolic Project

Burak Erdim

This introductory essay frames the theme of the Built/Unbuilt Issue of Southern Cultures by bringing attention to the incomplete and unrealized aspects of seemingly ordinary landscapes of the New South. Confronting the unusual form of Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, the essay defamiliarizes this popular site through an exploration of its broader social, economic, and artistic aims. Built in the aftermath of the Great Depression and World War II, state-owned Dorton and the fairgrounds were one of the pioneering manifestations of a new regional development paradigm that sought to battle social and economic fragmentation and the rise of fascism in industrial societies. The essay traces the ambivalent reception of these technologies of development that resulted in their incomplete implementation and misuse, as in the case of cars and racialized suburban sprawl. Indicative of many of the projects examined in the issue, these incomplete sites have now become ordinary parts of the American South.

Living, Being, and Doing

Living, Being, and Doing

Lisa McCarty

Over the course of eight years while living in North Carolina, photographer Lisa McCarty visited Lake Eden, former home of the renowned experimental art school Black Mountain College. McCarty writes, "My motivation was never to repeat what the original students made, and I never expected to see exactly what they saw. However, I did want to feel something of what they felt, to be a part of natureculture. When I go to Lake Eden with my camera, I can, and I do. I become sensitive to everything." Between 1933 and 1957, Black Mountain's roster included Josef Albers, Anni Albers, Ruth Asawa, John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Buckminster Fuller, Elaine de Kooning, Willem de Kooning, Gwendolyn Lawrence, Jacob Lawrence, Barbara Morgan, Robert Rauschenberg, Cy Twombly, Susan Weil, and Marion Post Wolcott. Many of these artists are now part of the canon of American art and literature, and it is often the knowledge that many of them lived and worked together in the same place that sparks curiosity about the school. But despite the visceral effect of this specific place on a wide range of students, faculty, and even the subsequent admirers of the school that tour Lake Eden today, the importance of environmental stewardship and reverence at the College are often footnotes in its history.

Soul Clap

Soul Clap

Michelle Lanier, with illustrations by Ginnie Hsu

The question is: How do I render sound visible? For me, the answer is ethnopoetics, a mode of presenting performance, ritual, and cultural expression through the tools of poetry. In its possibilities for mirroring moments, and reflecting the spaciousness and impact of tone and silence and sound, the form seeks freedom from the strictures of prose. This is an ethnopoetic journey that invites rhythmic reading—listening with the eyes.

In Search of Maudell Sleet’s Garden

In Search of Maudell Sleet’s Garden

Glenda Gilmore

Art offers an archive that documents the environmental past. As cities grew quickly in the New South at the start of the twentieth century, women established urban gardens that provided self-sufficiency and meager profits for their households. Urban planners and zoning eliminated most of these opportunities by the late 1930s. The artist Romare Bearden, born in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1911, recalled in his art the beauty of urban gardens among African American homes. This article considers those gardening practices through two Bearden collages centered on the unknown gardener Maudell Sleet and chronicles how cities changed with the demise of urban gardening.

Quicker than Coal Ash

Quicker than Coal Ash

photos by Will Warasila, introduced by Anne Branigin

The people of Walnut Cove, North Carolina, live in the shadow of Duke Energy’s Belews Creek Steam Station, where toxic coal ash is kept in a massive unlined storage pond, and toxins are pumped into the air, water, and soil. “Quicker than Coal Ash” depicts the slow violence of coal ash and its effect on the residents, the landscape, and the structures of energy and power. The harm done to the land and its residents is invisible. Nevertheless, this series of photographs attempts to address that harm. Anne Branigin’s introduction to these photos explores the history of coal ash in North Carolina, connecting it to broader environmental justice struggles across the United States. Walnut Cove is far from alone. But despite the massive amount of coal ash the United States produces each year, not enough is known about the health impacts on neighboring communities, also known as “sacrifice zones” or “fenceline communities.” Often, the residents of these areas are politically and socially marginalized: people of color, economically disadvantaged, and too often ignored.