For many of our students, involvement with Student Craft is their first time formally exploring art, craft, and design—an example of the unique opportunities that are part of the Berea College experience.
Through these explorations and many others like them within Berea College’s Labor Program, we expand the learning opportunities of a liberal arts education beyond the lessons in the classroom. These experiences directly support the professional goals our students are pursuing and pave the way toward a future avocation nurturing and supporting the arts. We hope you enjoy this new format and get to know Student Craft a little more through the stories we share.
Weaving Assistant Emerson Croft ’21 designed the Elements Series of baby blankets while a student at Berea College. A film about Croft and these blankets directed by Justin Skeens, Berea’s Director of Digital Storytelling, won two regional Emmy awards.
Watch his beautiful and inspiring short film about Emerson’s work.
Baby Blanket Elements
The Elements series of blankets were designed by student Emerson Croft ’21 to break free from conventionally gendered pink and blue baby blankets through creative exploration of color and concept. Available in four colors.
Sharon Ngassa ’21 was an essential part of the Woodcraft team as a student. In her senior year, she designed the Intersections Charcuterie Board as a vehicle for exploring the College’s Fifth and Sixth Great Commitments through Craft. We are extremely proud that this product—which pulls double duty as a cutting board—will be distributed through MillerKnoll’s Design Within Reach in spring 2023, and Ngassa will be listed as the designer.
These charcuterie boards represent both the differences inside all of us as individuals and the need for that difference inside any healthy society.
Elsa ’23 is double majoring in communication and studio art with a focus in printmaking. She is passionate about the way that craft serves as a form of communication and connection between the craftsperson and the user. Studying intersectional communication theories has influenced her contribution in the redesign of the People Collection.
New People Collection Mugs
Our ceramics students designed these two collections as a way of representing the diversity of the people who make up our community and the richness of the geographic place in which we are located. Mugs, bowls, and plates available in four colors.
Ty ’23, a nursing major, trims the fringe on one of our Rainbow Baby Blankets. This blanket was the very first product released as part of our Crafting Diversity efforts in fall 2019.
Zy Garrett ’22 at work warping the loom for our Rainbow Baby Blanket. You can read more about Zy and her work below where we discuss her contributions to our new collection of decorative quilts.
Rainbow Baby Blanket
This soft 100% cotton baby blanket celebrates impartial love and the kinship of all people, one of Berea College’s eight Great Commitments.
People Collection Stools
These stools extend the student design work started by students Rachel Bates ’20 and Zoe Cowley ’20 in ceramics into the woodshop.
The stools are made from ash (legs and stretchers) and Cherry for the seat. Available in 11 different colors this collection challenges us to see the beauty and value in diversity.
Taylor ’24, an engineering technologies and applied design or ETAD and art double major, carefully hand paints a small batch of our new People Collection Stools. Designed in Woodcraft in 2022 and available for order in 11 different colors, these stools symbolize the diversity that has always made Berea so special.
Zy Garrett ’22
Zy Garrett ’22, an ETAD major, was one of 12 students who contributed designs for Student Craft’s inaugural series of quilts. Our Garden Sampler and Sunrise Sampler Quilted Tapestries are featured below. Each square in these wall hangings was designed by a student from Student Craft, and each quilt block strives to support the understanding of the College’s Great Commitments. These two quilts will be featured in Design Within Reach’s distribution of our Crafting Diversity Collection, with all 12 of our students and Erin Miller, our director of weaving, named as designers.
Garden Sampler Quilted Tapestry
Featuring 9 student designed quilt squares, each created with the intention of developing a richer understanding of the college’s Great Commitments.
Upper right-hand corner Shaylee ’23, Upper left-hand corner Sisaly ’25, Shekinah ’23 Top row middle square, Middle row, far right, Taku ’23, Middle Row, Middle square Evelyn ’22, Middle row far right, Zy ’22, Bottom left, Esther ’23, Bottom middle, Dora ’25, Bottom right, Blade ’22.
42″x 42″ This product will be added to the Crafting Diversity Collection with distribution through DWR in the Spring of 2023 with our students design work credited.
Sunrise Sampler Quilted Tapestry
Featuring four student-designed quilt squares, each created with the intention of developing a richer understanding of Berea College’s Great Commitments.
Designed by the following students YoungSoon ’25, Paulina ’25, and Zy Garrett ’22, Holly ’23