INDUSTRY explores the business of the handmade, taking us to workshops where artists are crafting the future and making contributions to the local and national economies. INDUSTRY highlights the important connection between the consumer and the maker and explores the value of exquisitely crafted handmade objects in today's creative economy.

Quiltmaker Joe Cunningham at the frame with Gee's Bend quilters Ritamae Pettway, Lucy Mingo, and Revil Mosely. Mark Markley photograph.

In Gee's Bend, Alabama, quilting has brought economic success to women whose remarkable quilts have astonished the world. San Francisco quilter Joe Cunningham visits Lucy Mingo and Mary Ann Pettway in Gee's Bend, where quilters learned their skills from generations of women who passed down their expertise, never dreaming that what they were creating would one day be considered art. World-wide attention guarantees a stable income for these pioneers of the creative economy.

Gee's Bend quilter Revil Mosely quilts by hand. Mark Markley photograph.

At Lowell's Boat Shop in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Graham McKay makes dories in the 220-year tradition of Lowell's craftsmanship and directs a living museum that features the craft of boat building and its pivotal role in the economy and history of New England. He opens the doors of the shop to local high school students, continuing the tradition by bringing them into the building process.

Boat builder Graham McKay works with high school apprentices on a whale boat. Mark Markley photograph.

At Oriole Mill in Hendersonville, North Carolina, American textile manufacturing is thriving once again. Deep in an area of the South, once the heart of textile manufacturing, artist Bethanne Knudson is proving, through creativity, expertise and sheer determination, that an industry can revive itself. Knudson is one of the many Western North Carolina artists who have revived the economy of Asheville through their creative endeavors and made it an arts destination.

The Oriole Mill staff and Oriole Mill coverlet and throw. Mark Markley photograph.

In Brooklyn, New York, capital of the handmade, artist Shane Yamane combines traditional techniques with modern technology to market his precious jewelry on his website and through Etsy, the extraordinarily successful online craft marketplace that yields an astounding $1.35 billion in annual sales for 1 million artists worldwide.

Shane Yamane, Rings

Etsy is a marketplace where people around the world connect to buy and sell unique goods. Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

Etsy was founded in 2005 by Rob Kalin who was unable to find a way to market his handmade creations. Today it is a giant e-commerce website company headquartered in Brooklyn that serves over 30 million members in 200 countries to sell their handmade good of all kinds. Etsy prides itself in being “certified B Corporation - a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.”

INDUSTRY: Handmade in the Creative Economy

Courtesy of Etsy

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INDUSTRY: Handmade in the Creative Economy
Explore weaving in Asheville
Journalist James Sullivan on craft and the creative economy
Quilt Historian Julie Silber talks about her love of quilts
Learn about Lowell's Boat Shop production line

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Learn more about the artists in the INDUSTRY episode HERE >


Craft In America Educational Materials look further at INDUSTRY as a concept in craft. Visit the EDUCATION section to see what's available and download a Lesson Guide HERE >