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.
The Convergence Vases have been designed as a partnership between visiting designer Norman Teague, visiting Craft Apprentice Jose-Alfredo Ramos-Macias ’21 and ceramics student Elsa Black ’23. This work focuses on our 5th Great Commitment to the Kinship of all People as an exploration of the beauty that occurs when we create space for a coming together from different directions. This historic collaboration will be added to Berea College’s Crafting Diversity Collection through Design Within Reach in the Summer of 2024 crediting Jose and Elsa alongside Norman as designers of record. Available at Berea’s Log House beginning in late 2023.
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.
Learn about the students who designed each square!
Hover over the blue circles to reveal their stories!
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.
Designed by Leeroy 23’ and Dixie 25’ the concept of this pillow came from a marriage of two perspectives of what people might see at night. Leeroy’s perspective was based on an aerial view of a lit city, and Dixie was fascinated by the stars above. Together the aerial image of a lit city made by humans and the naturally occurring skyline of stars coalesced. This merger can speak to the human hunger to imitate nature, which is seen in a plethora of visual media not unlike a dance. The city’s image slowly looks like a cluster of stars with specks of color. Additionally, this merger speaks to the diversity of opinions in the world and how social context could help us break down social barriers. While these two students’ perspectives were different, they still described similar images. This glass-half-empty-glass-half-full paradox shows the importance of understanding the circumstances that have brought about different perspectives. By understanding these circumstances, we can choose how and if we want to breakdown barriers between us and the “other.”
Co-designer Leeroy Mabvuta ’23 is continuing his education post-graduation from Berea in pursuit of a career as a surgeon. Leeroy is also the designer of our hugely popular Symphiny Scarves which can be found here: https://www.bcloghousecrafts.com/student-craft-symphony-scarf-maroon.html
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