A new episode of Craft in America: DEMOCRACY is available to stream now on the PBS Video App, PBS.org/craftinamerica, and craftinamerica.org in advance of the PBS broadcast premiere on Dec. 11, 2020.
Craft in America: DEMOCRACYexplores how craft intertwines with our nation’s defining principles, providing inspiring examples of artists and organizations working together to embody democratic ideals. The program highlights the historic and contemporary crafts Berea College students produce through the College’s distinctive Labor program. It features interviews with students and staff in Berea’s crafts program—which includes weaving, broom making, ceramics and woodworking—and Stephen Burks, an industrial designer and educator who headed Berea’s Crafting Diversity project. Burks worked with students to design products for the Student Craft program, ensuring the inclusive diversity of Berea’s student body was represented in the craft they created.
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The Berea College Broomcraft Program—which marks its centennial anniversary this year—is highlighted in an online feature article in the Smithsonian Magazine.
While Berea is a liberal arts college—not a craft or art school—it is home to the country’s longest continuously operating broomcraft workshop and carries on an American craft tradition that’s rarely practiced today. In the article, Chris Robbins, director of Berea College’s broomcraft program, estimates there likely are less than 200 people worldwide who make brooms by hand for a living. Yet brooms seem to be having a renaissance, he said, perhaps due to a market trend for handmade items or to the popularity of the Harry Potter book series (Berea has a “rocket broom” in its product line). More than 60 brooms were ordered on the morning the article appeared.
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