Dignity. Labor.

When we think of labor, we often think of the work of the hand. And sometimes that leads us to thinking that those hands work in isolation, separated somehow from the head and the heart. Our current Student Craft curriculum seeks to ensure that the head, heart, and hand are at work in our students’ learning and work.
Today almost 75 percent of our products have been designed by, or in collaboration with, our students as we work toward realizing the consistent mantra of visiting designer Stephen Burks that “everyone is capable of design.” Not only are our students engaged in design as well as production, but they are also designing with intention and commitment to deepening connection to and understanding of Berea’s Great Commitments.
Berea College provides head, heart, and hand learning throughout its labor and academic programs. The commitment to the dignity of all labor is a significant reason why Berea College graduates enjoy so much success post-graduation. Such an important concept helps students realize Berea College founder John G. Fee’s dream of a world with opportunity for all, regardless of class, race, or gender difference.

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The Purpose Collection draws inspiration from our Seventh Great Commitment and its focus on mindfulness and a concern for the welfare of others. Bowl, Mug, Pitcher, Trivet, and Set of 4 Coasters (all sold separately). Learn More
These naturally dyed placemats and coasters are woven in our traditional “Rachel” pattern with a cotton warp and a wool weft. After weaving, the placemats and the coasters are dyed with walnut, marigold, goldenrod, madder, osage orange, and chamomile. By cultivating our own natural dyes, students engage with head, heart, and hand as they care for the earth, study the biology and chemistry necessary to complete the dyeing process, and carefully weave, inspect, and finish each placemat. This run will be limited to 10 sets of 6 placemats and 10 sets of 6 coasters, with each placemat and coaster dyed with a different plant from campus. Learn More
Students Bri ’23, Zoe ’23, Dawn ’23, and Tammi ’23 came up with the idea of making flowers from cutoffs from our broom production. Although not yet available for purchase, they serve as a reminder of the creativity of Berea students. When combined with an educated hand, the potential is limitless.
The 7′ Cherry People Collection Table dressed with naturally dyed placemats and coasters from weaving students, the Purpose Collection from our ceramics students, Broomcorn Flowers from our broomcraft students, and surrounded by prototypes for next year’s People Collection Chair series from woodcraft. Learn More