Since its beginning in 1973, the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi has grown from a membership of 30 craftsmen - only two of the original 30 actually earned a living from craft - to more than 400 professional artisans from all across the Southeast.
Our craftsmen have a tremendous impact on the Mississippi's culture and are vital players in community planning and economic development. Guild craftsmen give workshops, free school demonstrations, teach and contribute to our strong cultural heritage as well as enrich our state with the availability of fine craft.
Programs include the award winning Chimneyville Crafts Festival which draws fine craft lovers from all over the Southeast. The festival is one of the largest, oldest and most prominent craft shows in the region. Well over 200 craftsmen are hosted in more than 160 booths. Craft objects sold during this three day show provide a large part of the yearly income of Guild craftsmen, allowing them to live and work in Mississippi.
Other Guild programs include weekend craft demonstrations which are offered free to the public from March to October. Demonstrations are Saturday and Sunday at the MS Craft Center and Saturday at the Chimneyville Gallery; combined they total 120 free demonstrations a year. School and educational programs include the Suitcase Museum, an educational program to introduce elementary students to crafts and the Children's Craft Sampler.
Twice a year, March and September, the Guild Standards Committee meets to review the work of new applicants. The Guild is respected for the high degree of craftsmanship demonstrated by its members; attracting members from across the Southeast.
In November 2006, the Guild is scheduled to move into a new 20,000 square foot building. For the first time in our 32 years, we will have our own home, designed specifically for the display and demonstration of craft. The building will service the entire state through cultural tourism and provide a venue for fine craft. The center is designed to be both a community gathering place and home to craft education.
In training, style and philosophy, member craftsmen encompass a broad spectrum ranging from college art professors to artisans working in primitive methods, from papermakers to glass blowers, and weavers to woodcarvers. They all share the common interest of craft and rejoice in the challenge and satisfaction of producing fine craft and expressing their inner visions.
The Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi, Inc. gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the National Endowment of the Arts, The Mississippi Arts Commission, the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum, The National Park Service, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation.