The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi
A little bit of history
The mission of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi is to preserve, promote, market, educate and encourage excellence in regional crafts, believing that regular contact with the skilled work of the hand enhances both producers’ and patrons’ lives.
For over four decades, the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi has been helping craftsmen make a living from their craft, enforced high standards for fine craft, and provided educational programs to pass along both craft skills and an appreciation for them to future generations.
The Guild has grown to 359 professional artisans and became one of the most respected craft guilds in the country. Eighty percent of the members live in Mississippi and twenty percent reside in 16 other states, a testament to the Guild’s national reputation. Membership is open to all whose work reflects a high degree of competence, professional standards and artistry in their medium and category. Eligibility is determined by a jury review process held twice each year.
Since 2007, the Guild has been headquartered in the 20,000 square foot Mississippi Craft Center that has many functions – retail gallery, museum, education center, art referral agency, community gathering place and visitors’ center. The Guild also operates a satellite retail gallery, hosts numerous successful events each year, and has a comprehensive educational program. (From official website. To learn more, visit this page).
A Heritage to Explore
My first experience with Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi was truly an unforgettable one. I was looking for something fun to do with the kids one weekend. A quick search online provided a few interesting options. “Sheep to Shawl 2018: Fiber Arts Demonstrations” got my attention right away. What could be more educational and exciting than seeing real-life sheep shearing? When we got there, it felt like a family reunion. Everybody was so welcoming and friendly. The artists who work and volunteer at the Craft Center truly put their heart into it. And it shows.
The kids loved being able to feel the soft wool, learn the process of cleaning and drying it, watching it being spun, and dyeing their own pieces of yarn with Kool-Aid (true story!). We saw stunning paintings and unique works of art made from natural materials. We were fascinated by the knives and arrowheads, made out of pieces of slate, rock, with elements of wood, animal bones, skin and even intestines. But our favorite, by far, was trying loom weaving. That process is captivating to watch and therapeutic to experience. My 6-year old son was loom weaving for about 15 minutes, and only stopped because it was after hours and the facility was closing. My son said he could do it all day. And I believe him.
There was more fun to be had outside as well. The young artists could participate in the Chalk Contest. There were food trucks with treats of all kinds. Outside the Craft Center, there is a beautiful trail available for visitors to enjoy. We will certainly go back to spend more time there.
For more information about Chimneyville Weavers and Spinners Guild or for a schedule of future events, visit the Craft Center website.
Know & Go
What: Knitting Group
A group of knitters comes together to work on their projects, and to enjoy fellow fiber artists’ company. This is a great opportunity to learn a new skill, or to practice an old one.
When: Every 4th Sunday of the month from 2-4 pm
Where: 950 Rice Rd, Ridgeland, MS
Cost and details: This event is open to the public, and all the participants are encouraged to bring projects of their own to join in.
The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi offers multiple sessions of Creative Craft Camp to introduce children to the joy of making things with their hands. Expert members of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi immerse children into a fun, creative, and hands-on experience, teaching them the techniques and history of their craft through creating one-of-a-kind pieces of art to take home and cherish for years to come.
Here is where you can register and find out more.