Craft in North Carolina

Carolina Craftsmen History

Pepper Fluke Potter, integral to the history of the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild, hosting its 46th annual Carolina Artisan Craft Market Nov. 6-8, 2015The Carolina Designer Craftsmen history is filled with many passionate craft artists and collectors whose ideas and efforts helped launch the organization.  Early influences were the 1966 “Craftsmen Southeast” exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art; the 1967-69 Triangle Festival of Crafts; Paul Minnis, Head of the Art Department at East Carolina University; Vivian Dai, teacher at Allied Arts of Durham.

Ormond Sanderson, Bob Black and Rita Kunkle of Straw Valley Craft House; Paul Hudgins, “The Potter” at Roaring Gap; and Sid and Pat Oakley of Strawberry Fields were instrumental.  Flo McKinney, Priscilla Palmore, Dorothy Bone, Dorothy Davis, Myrtle Obrist, Jan Gregg and Pepper Fluke of Craft House in Durham actively participated in developing the organization.

The Carolina Craftsmen history officially began when founding board members Priscilla Palmore, Helen Pratt, Sandy Milroy, Jo Goulson, Pepper Fluke and Elaine Reed gathered in November 1969.   Articles of Incorporation and bylaws were drawn up and adopted in February 1970.

The first Show Chair was Alice Proctor Winborne.  Flo McKinney, Dorothy Davis, Sylvia Heyden and Paul Minnis served on the first Standards Committee. The inaugural show took place with 52 exhibiting artists on April 17-18, 1970 in the educational building at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

Serving the skilled artisan in this guild’s tradition for more than four decades, the organization has grown to include more than 180 exhibiting artist members from all over the Southeast and beyond. Annually culminating in a Carolina Artisan Craft Market of its members, the Guild honors the skills it takes years to develop, recognizes the depth of knowledge and understanding of materials and celebrates the individuality, uniqueness and innovation expressed by fine craft artists.

Photo: Wheel thrown pot by Pepper Fluke