In 1963, a group of friends and acquaintances gathered around a kitchen table to discuss their love of crafts. From that first conversation came Piedmont Craftsmen – a guild of crafts artists and crafts collectors whose devotion to the handmade object and ties to the heritage of craft work in the region have spanned several generations. At its beginning, Piedmont Craftsmen created the guidelines for a juried exhibiting membership, educated the public to fine crafts and offered an annual crafts fair to meet the mission of promoting and selling members’ works. The guild has expanded its mission, over its 50+ year history, by broadening its membership base, creating multiple revenue sources for exhibiting members, providing educational outreach in the public school system, and collaborating with local and regional organizations to create exhibitions and community programs.
Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. is unique as a guild in that we were founded by both collectors and makers of fine craft. That “handshake” has substantially shaped Piedmont Craftsmen’s culture as a membership based organization. Exhibiting Members and Supporting Members frequently tell us that Piedmont Craftsmen’s reputation for excellence is one of the main reasons they continue to be actively engaged with the organization.
While the birth of Piedmont Craftsmen can be seen as part of the larger mid-century American Craft movement, it is also particular to Winston-Salem’s place in the North Carolina Piedmont region. The tradition of making beautiful, functional, well crafted objects runs deep, encompassing the native cultures’ Catawba clay pots, the more European pottery traditions of the Seagrove community, and the fine furniture, textiles and metal work of Moravian settlers.
Our Exhibiting Members employ traditional crafts media (clay, wood, glass, fibers/textiles, metals/jewelry, mixed media, leather, print and photography) in the creation of both functional and non-functional objects. With a wide range of prices and aesthetic points of view, the hallmark of our Members’ work lies in the execution of the object: well made and beautifully designed.
Organizational Timeline for Piedmont Craftsmen
- 1963: Founding members hold a show and sell their work.
- 1964: Piedmont Craftsmen is incorporated in the State of North Carolina.
- 1964: By the end of the first year, membership is 46 Exhibiting, 44 Associate and 10 Patron Members.
- 1964: 1st Piedmont Crafts Fair is held in Old Salem at former Krispy Kreme building.
- 1965: Membership: 63 Exhibiting and 70 Friends and Associates.
- 1965: Piedmont Craftsmen receives its non-profit 501(c)(3) determination from the IRS.
- 1966 – 1969: Piedmont Craftsmen opens The Craft Shop in Old Salem.
- 1966: Craftsmen’s Fair opens at Winston-Salem Coliseum where it remains until early 90’s when the old coliseum is torn down.
- 1970: The area of service includes North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina
- 1970 – 1976: The Craft Shop is opened at 936 West 4th Street
- 1974: Exhibiting Membership is 208.
- 1976 – 1986: Craft Shop is located on Main Street near Old Salem.
- 1978: Southern Craft Markets was formed as a subsidiary of Piedmont Craftsmen to manage the Craft Shop and Fair.
- 1980: Area of service expanded to include Mississippi, Louisiana, West Virginia and Kentucky.
- 1982: Two phase jury system is initiated.
- 1982: Area of service now includes Maryland and Washington, D.C.
- 1986: The Craft Shop is located downtown on Cherry Street between 4th and 5th Streets.
- 1987: The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County approved Piedmont Craftsmen as a Funded Partner.
- 1988: 25th Anniversary Craftsmen’s Fair.
- 1989: Southern Crafts Markets was dissolved with all programs and boards merged in to Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc.
- 1990 – 2003: The Craft Shop and Gallery are located at 1204 Reynolda Road.
- 1991: Craftsmen’s Fair opens at Benton Convention Center.
- 1996: Piedmont Craftsmen’s first website is created.
- 1996: The Smithsonian selected 11 Piedmont Craftsmen exhibiting members for their Olympic Village Shop in Atlanta, GA.
- 1999: Crafts Career Day, an educational program, is introduced to High School Art Students.
- 2002: Piedmont Craftsmen purchases a third of the old Pleasant’s Hardware building in downtown Winston-Salem for its Gallery and offices.
- 2002: Strength in Numbers, Green Hill Center for North Carolina Art, Greensboro, NC.
- 2003: Gallery is officially moved to the Trade Street after the location was remodeled.
- 2003: 40th Anniversary Exhibit, Power of Excellence, SECCA, Winston-Salem, NC.
- 2007: Online digital image jury system initiated.
- 2007: The mortgage is retired on our Trade Street location.
- 2010: Opening Acts is the first exhibit presented at the new Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts and the organization is honored with an exhibit at the North Carolina Governor’s Mansion.
- 2011: Exhibiting membership is 357 and Supporting Membership is 475.
- 2011: Version 3 of the website is launched.
- 2013: 50th Piedmont Craftsmen's Fair.
- 2014: Piedmont Craftsmen's 50th Anniversary
- Lena Albright∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Bianca Artom∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Mildred L. Ball∞ – Exhibiting Member
- W. M. Ball∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Warren Brooks∞ – Supporting Member
- Mildred S. Crutchfield∞ – Exhibiting Member
- L. G. Crutchfield∞ – Supporting Member
- Mary Goslen – Exhibiting Member
- Senator Hamilton C. Horton, Jr∞. – Supporting Member
- Cynthia Hensel∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Gypsy Hollingsworth∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Albert Hubbard∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Martha Hubbard∞ – Supporting Member
- Florence Illman – Exhibiting Member
- Dr. J. Maxwell Little∞ – Supporting Member
- Louise Little∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Charlotte Shermer∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Thomas Suomalainen – Exhibiting Member
- Christine Yarborough∞ – Exhibiting Member
- Wylie M. Yarborough – Supporting Member
Life membership is bestowed to Exhibiting and Supporting Members by the Board of Trustees for their long-time commitment, loyalty and financial support.
- Ed Brinkman - Exhibiting Member since 1968/Clay
- Elizabeth Brooks∞ – Exhibiting & Supporting Member
- Herb Cohen - Exhibiting Member since 1968/Clay
- Jose Fumero - Exhibiting Member since 1975/Fiber
- Frank A. Gourley, Jr. - Exhibiting Member since 1967/Wood
- R. Philip Hanes∞ – Supporting Member
- Virginia Ingram - Exhibiting Member since 1968/Printmaking
- Shirley Taylor Marriott - Exhibiting Member since 1966/Metal
- Eddie Smith - Exhibiting Member since 1964/Clay
- Janet Graven Tourtellot - Exhibiting Member since 1968/Mixed Media
- Jan – Dec 1964 – 67 Dr. J. Max Little∞
- Jan – Dec 1967 – 69 Wylie Yarborough
- Jan – Dec 1970 – 71 Dr. J. Max Little∞
- Jan – Dec 1972 – 73 Lynn S. Hill
- Jan – Dec 1974 – 77 James Rush∞
- 1978 – June 79 Karl Stauber
- July – Dec 1979 Martha Dunigan*∞
- 1979 – 80 James Rush∞
- 1980 – 82 Robert Cash
- 1982 – 85 Bill Watson
- 1985 – 88 Lynn S. Hill
- 1988 – 89 Eunice Benton
- 1989 – 91 Linda Dekle
- 1991 – 93 Fanny Stronach
- 1993 – 94 Henry Waszkowski
- 1994 – 95 Betsy Bethune
- 1995 – 96 Rebecca Fowler
- 1996 – 98 Lee Hanes
- 1998 Shirley Taylor Marriott*
- 1998 Polly Allen
- July 1998 – June 2000 Nancy Wooten∞
- July 2000 – Dec 2001 B. Jane Doub*
- Jan – Dec 2002 Susan Harris
- Jan – Dec 2003 Pat Taylor*
- Jan – Dec 2004 Chuck Heath*
- Jan – Dec 2005 Bill Benton
- Jan – Dec 2006 Sharon G. Hamilton
- Jan – Dec 2007 William (Marty) Marion
- Jan 2008 – Dec 2009 B. J. Buckland
- Jan 2010 – Dec 2011 JoAnne Vernon
- Jan – Dec 2012 Pamela Pryor Grace
- Jan 2013 – Dec 2014 Anne Howard Shelburne
- Jan - Dec 2015 Karen Morgan
- Jan - Dec 2016 Jennifer McCormick*
Executive Directors/President & CEO
- 1973 Ann Bonitz*, Executive Director
- 1973 – 1975 Betty Place, Executive Director
- 1975 – 1979 Lida Lowery, Executive Director
- 1979 – 1984 Banks Godfrey∞, Executive Director
- 1984 – 1987 Jan Detter, Executive Director
- 1987 – 1989 Kathy Page, Executive Director
- 1993 Lois Dean, Executive Director
- 1994 – 1998 Kelly Persons, Executive Director
- 1998 Robert Kneble, Acting (or Interim) Executive Director
- 1999 – 2005 Tomi Melson*, President & CEO
- 2005 – present B. Jane Doub*, President & CEO
* Exhibiting Member