The Queen City, The QC, Crown Town, and The Hornet’s Nest are all nicknames for Charlotte, North Carolina, US. We went there for our niece’s Bat Mitzvah recently and had some time to look around. Charlotte has several world-class museums, including the Mint Museum of Craft + Design, which celebrates the region’s rich history of displays craft with glass, metal, fiber, wood, and clay art pieces. I was particularly interested in the emphasis on how “craft” evolved from purely utilitarian objects up to the 19th century into decorative and artistic pieces. As you may know, my new book is all about the evolution of craft and how it has shaped our relationship with materials, and how we can use design and craft to create a more sustainable world.
Katie is the beauty behind Vaka Design. She’s been making jewelry for thirty years, taught by her grandmother, Maryclair O’Day, and then trained as an artist at UNC Charlotte. Katie has three sons, works in her home studio, and gets to be a mom and a successful goldsmith. She makes exquisite pieces out of ruby, turquoise, tourmaline, diamonds, opal and more. She works with gold and silver, and the beauty of her pieces are heightened because of the handiwork involved. So much nicer than machine-made. And more affordable, too.
Glass blowing is a craft I am a little intimidated by. It just looks like it is such a delicate process, and maybe I just don’t have the patience. The time that goes into making just one of these beads might be too frustrating for me. So I’m glad I found Susan Lambert who clearly has the discipline and the technique it takes to create these little wonders.
Fiber arts are intriguing to me, and this crochet cuff is a perfect example of why. I never would have thought to create something so pretty and simple, but here it was on Etsy just waiting for me to discover. Natalie is the owner of Stitches and Pearls, and she is a native of North Carolina. She’s a self-taught knitter. It’s her escape from the cubicle to her happy place. You can get into her head and share her creative process, knit by knit, on her blog.