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Supportive. Sustainable.

The majority of the 100 students working here at Student Craft will go on to pursue in careers representing the wide variety of liberal arts majors Berea offers. What they all have in common is the opportunity to thrive within the college’s labor program as they pursue their individual area of study. Learn more about students Elaine, Ellen, and Katie and how their experience at Student Craft has helped to support their success.

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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.

Sunrise Mirrors

A collaborative design supported by our entire Woodcraft student crew and with a shape inspired by the sunrise and carved surfaces reminiscent of the trees of Appalachia, this project supports Berea’s 7th Great Commitment and asks those interacting with it to pause and reflect on the value of a mindful, supportive, and sustainable community.

Sunrise Mirrors

Available in three colors: Cherry, Walnut, Walnut-Sunflower (pictured), and Cherry-Plum.

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Available in five colors: Gold Sunrise, Midday Meadow, Sunset Afterglow (shown here), Midnight Campfire, and Moonlight.

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Hours of the Day Streamliner Brooms

With the goal of designing a new line of Streamliner brooms in mind, the Broomcraft students experimented by hand mixing dozens of combinations of dyed broom corn. Out of those many mixes, a pattern emerged and the drive to represent color schemes seen throughout the day and night became a strong narrative within the group. Through experimentation and heated discussion, they developed and voted on each mix to make these five palates, referencing the atmosphere around them day to day. Referencing the passage of time visually through color is a playful way to talk about narrative in craft, and an inventive way to elevate a traditional broom design without altering its form significantly, thereby retaining a high level of functionality.

Dustpan and Broom Set

Designed as a group project with students and staff from Woodcraft and Broomcraft, this cherry dustpan and brush, built with a mix of Osage Orange and Walnut dyed Broomcorn and dyed with natural madder, exemplifies the beauty of simple, clean and purposeful design.

The Dustpan is 7.5″ by 10.5″ and the broom is 9″ by 14.5″

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Forest Shaker Braid Broom

Crafted entirely by hand, the handles for this broom were harvested from the Berea College Forest by staff and students, and include maple, sassafras and beech. The handles are left to dry before winding brooms with broomcorn naturally dyed with black walnuts from campus and heartwood shavings from an Osage Orange tree within the College Forest. The stalks used to braid the base of the handle are also naturally dyed. The broom is then hand stitched using natural, sustainable hemp chord.

L 52″

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Olivet ’24, who majors in chemistry, bundles red maple saplings for use as handles for our Forest Broom. Both our growing use of natural dyes, and the use of carefully managed resources from the College Forest, help to deepen the connection between Berea College’s students and the natural world we are committed to preserving.

Red maple, native to the Appalachian region, can be invasive. If left unchecked, it would reduce the diversity of Berea College’s 9,000 acres of forest land. Broomcraft staff and students play a small role, under the supervision of the College’s foresters, to help thin out these saplings for use within Student Craft.

Every morning we rise to make this new day better than the last, honoring our past not just as a foundation for our future, but as a guide to how we may do better for the earth and its people.

Rise Throw Full Stripe

Inspired by blankets found in Berea’s Appalachian Center Artifact Collection, these hemp and wool throws will last for generations and only grow softer with age. Available in full stripes, or smaller sections of cool or warm colors. The unique arrangement of each design allows students to make decisions on the color and placement of stripes, meaning each throw is one of a kind. Creativity and critical thinking are crucial skills to develop as a maker, and these blankets encourage our students to hone those skills while honoring the material.

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Rise Throw “Woods”

This version of our popular Rise Throw was designed by student Holly Hudson ’23 in response to a special request from retail partner Design Within Reach for a blanket that celebrates earth tones. This new variation of the Rise Throw will only be available through DWR with Holly named as the designer of record beginning in the early spring of 2024.

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Dawn and Dusk Placemats and Table Runner

Co-designed by Dani and Dylan ’25 two students with differing interests and skill sets, these placemats celebrate technical discovery and the beauty of long summer days. Dani 25’ works as a camp counselor every summer and has been inspired by images she’s taken of dramatic summer sunsets. Dylan 25’ is eager to learn as much about the craft of weaving as possible, focusing on color blending and structure for this project. Together they developed overlapping spectrums of colors to represent the rising and setting of the summer
sun.

The Purpose Collection

This collection, designed by students Zoe Cowley ’20 and Rachael Bates ’20 with bright vibrant colors, global forms and a depth of texture, drew inspiration from the College’s Fifth Great Commitment celebrating the importance of recognizing the kinship of all people. Each individual piece displays a range of colors. Featuring mugs, bowls, batter bowls, berry bowls, and pitchers with purple, green, blue, and yellow accents.

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A celebration of our 7th Great Commitment to Supportive and Sustainable Living.

12” W x 15”L

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Brushy Fork Tote

Designed by student Merlyn ’23 the Brushy Fork Tote is woven using six pairs of colors, all of which were chosen to reflect the colors you might see while out walking the trails during various times of the year. The weaver gets to choose, within set parameters, which color to use and how long they want to use it before switching colors. This design makes each tote bag unique, and each weaving experience an act of creation, not just pure production. Merlyn wanted to make something that would be consistently fun and engaging to weave; no one wants to be bored at the loom.

The weave structure itself is inspired by vines and the exposed root structures of the trees that are visible by the water. The straps are dyed using a natural dye made of black walnuts gathered from Brushy Fork, which is a creek that runs through a natural area adjacent to campus. This allowed us to incorporate a very real part of the forest into the bag.

The “Wren” Quilt Square

Eden ’24, an accounting major, designed the “Wren” quilted hanging square to help us be mindful of our natural surroundings. The design was inspired by a quilt Eden remembers her grandmother making when she was a child.

Wren Quilt Block

“My grandmother always did quilting when I was younger. I can remember a quilt that she had made as decoration to hang on the wall. It was brightly colored had many different animals. That is why I wanted to use the bright colors in my quilt block and have an animal incorporated into my design. The bird is important to me because it is a Wren and that is my younger sister’s middle name.”

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