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.