Meet the Craft Education and Outreach Student Craftspeople 2012-2013.
Name: Chelsea Blakley
Chelsea Blakley is a sophomore psychology major, whose labor position at Berea College is in Broomcraft. Chelsea has a colorful history of craft in her family which includes relatives who quilt, sew and weave baskets, an uncle who keeps bees, and her father who is a woodworker. Chelsea grew up learning how to sew and make jewelry, and decided to work in Broomcraft because she was assured that it was out of the public eye. Little did she know that she would soon be leading broommaking workshops for the Outreach Program and demonstrating for the public at Student Crafts on the Square (SCOTS). “My communication and public speaking skills have definitely benefited from working with the Outreach Program and with SCOTS,” says Chelsea. “I know people don’t know a lot about our crafts and Berea College so I thought it would be interesting to tell them and show them. I think (Broomcraft) is important because it’s an age old tradition and I it’s important to keep traditions alive because they’re a huge part of our past.”
Name: Bethany Butters
Major: Studio art
Bethany is a sophomore Studio Art major working in woodcraft and at SCOTS. Bethany requested to work for Berea College Crafts because she has always enjoyed crafts. She grew up watching her mother paint stockings and make wreaths. When she was younger, Bethany experimented with many different crafts like making mini wire animal
Martha is a senior English major who acts as the Student Administrator for the Berea College Crafts Education and Outreach Program. As a freshman, Martha requested to work as a ceramics apprentice because she was always fascinated with wheel thrown pottery and wanted to learn the craft. Martha comes from a creative family, her mother knits, crochets and paints, her father is a luthier and her older brother owns his own photography business. Martha grew up playing with modeling clay, sewing and crocheting, but wanted to take the opportunity to become more serious about craft when she got to Berea College. As a senior she decided to join the Outreach program in order to explore other areas of art, one that she thought would be better suited for her future. “The Outreach program has given me the opportunity to see the different ways in which I could use my craft. I love to teach ceramics, but I also love helping administer the program as a whole.” Martha wishes to pursue a career in arts administration upon graduating.
sculptures for fun, but she never dedicated herself to one specific craft. Bethany sees the Crafts Program as an outlet for her creativity and way to take a break from her studies. She thinks that the skills she is learning in woodcraft such as precision and tool use, will benefit her artwork in the future. Bethany joined the Outreach Team because of “the interaction with community and people. I love being able to talk about Berea college and what it has to offer to other people and what the crafts in general can offer.” She hopes to continue weaving seats when she graduates and pursue furniture building.
Name: Cassidy Franklin-Dutton
Major: Art concentration painting
Cassidy is a senior Berea College student studying art with a concentration in painting. She works as the head manager of Student Crafts on the Square, but spent her first two years working in Broomcraft. She chose Broomcraft initially because she knew as she was entering college that she wanted to have a labor position that was arts related. Cassidy grew up in Kentucky and so art and craft have always been important to her family, especially quilting and sewing. Cassidy is attracted to functional art because she believes that value is added to the piece if the audience can interact with the piece by picking it up and using it. She believes that her time spent in the Broomcraft studio and managing the student gallery has given her a greater appreciation for craft and has given her important business skills. Cassidy plans on becoming a children’s book illustrator and would like to pursue arts management and demonstrations.
Name: Becca Hunter
Major: Communications and Music double major
Becca Hunter is a freshman Communications and Music double major. She began her freshman year weaving in SCOTS and helping to demonstrate for the Crafts Outreach Program. Becca grew up weaving and teaching others the craft. About demonstrating and teaching craft she says, “It’s something that I love. I love bringing that light to people and helping them understand something they didn’t even know anything about let alone that they could do it themselves. People take a lot of things for granted like their clothing, they have no idea what goes into making fabric. They have no appreciation for it and I like bringing that knowledge to them.”
Name: Duncan Blount
Duncan Blount is a junior English Writing major who has worked for two years in the ceramics studio. Duncan says that his “family has always been involved with ceramics. My dad’s graduation present was a wheel and he would help me make small cups and we would do raku firing. It was so much fun and such a great experience to be with my dad and do pottery. The family connection is what really drove me to be an apprentice because with my schedule and so much interacting with school, ceramics gives me an opportunity to slow down and kind of recharge.” Duncan’s great-grandmother lived in Berea for 46 years and Duncan grew up visiting Berea during the summer. He fell in love with Berea’s emphasis on art and craft and appreciates being able to major in a subject that he loves and learn a craft simultaneously. Duncan says that “The Outreach Program allows me to branch out and share my passion for pottery and for the creation of these amazing pieces of art. I love meeting new people and watching their eyes grow wide as I turn clay into a vessel.”
Name: Jennifer Schwika
Major: Technology and Industrial Arts
Jen Schwika is a junior at Berea College majoring in Technology and Industrial Arts. She chose to work as a wood turner because wood was a media in which she had little experience and because it complimented her major well. Jen says that working in the woods studio gives her “practical manufacturing skills, machining skills, working in a large equipment atmosphere, and it takes you through all the steps from the lumber to a finished piece. I get to learn each step of the process, just like I would need to in a professional job scenario.” She says she joined the Outreach Team because “I like sharing skills with other people, especially people who don’t know how great art can be or who don’t have the opportunity to learn a new skill. Most people don’t know how you get a chunk of wood to the finished product that you could get in a store. Most people don’t realize that they could do it too if they wanted to learn how. And it’s just a different skill other than drawing or painting, it’s not the typical medium but it is just as cool.”
Name: Nikki Fischer
Major: Studio Arts
Nikki Fischer is a senior art major, concentrating in ceramics. Her role in the Outreach Program is to demonstrate throwing pottery on the wheel and leading the pottery workshops. Nikki feels that the time she has spent working in the ceramic studio as well as going on the outreach events has given her the opportunity to learn her craft well and to better understand the concepts that she is exploring in her studio art classes. She says that the most rewarding part of being involved with the Outreach Program is “getting to volunteer your time so that others can see what you’re doing. Keeping the tradition of craft alive for others to experience is so important. Since most things are produced through industry, craft isn’t as necessary in the world today and when you do see craft in gallery spaces you just see the object and not the process. When you do see the process, you are better able to come to an understanding and respect for the object and person behind it.”
Stella Miller is a Senior Child and Family Studies major. Stella works in the weaving studio as her labor position and helps lead the weaving workshops and demonstrations for the Outreach Program. Stella’s love of fibers began at a young age when she taught herself to knit and crochet. This passion has continued through her college career and she hopes to be able to pass on her knowledge of weaving and her love of creativity to those around her in the future. “I have a desire to teach children to be creative and enjoy creativity. It’s a way to connect my academic studies to my love of crafts.”