2020/2021 Asheville, NC
Partnership with UNCAsheville STEAM Studios (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math at the River Arts Makers’ Place) and BeLoved Asheville:
Our primary partners in 2020/2021/2022 were UNCAsheville, STEAM Studio, and BeLoved Asheville, a local non-profit building a micro-home village to address the housing crisis in Asheville. These micro-homes are an affordable, community-oriented, and sustainable model for future replication.
In this iteration of Craft for a Greater Good, under the leadership of our Local Resident Fellows, Annie Evelyn and Ellie Richards, we worked to create furniture solutions for the micro-home village being built by BeLoved for the homeless insecure population in Asheville.
Activities to-date have included:
UNCA STEAM Studio offered a University-level semester-long course entitled ‘Craft for a Greater Good: Public Art in Private Spaces.’ Local Resident Fellows participated in the design, fabrication, and installation of built-in cabinetry for the BeLoved homes. This will be an ongoing offering.
Continuing to build furniture for BeLoved: we will continue building furniture for the BeLoved micro home village and will focus our second year of the program on expanding the reach of the project by continuing to offer workshops with the STEAM Studio’s youth audiences in the Asheville area.
Presenting about CGG: the Resident Fellows will produce a series of virtual presentations on FS Connects about CGG’s progress
Community classes, Maker Exchanges: the Local Resident Fellows will offer community classes and will host TFS member ideas exchanges. These events will raise awareness (and funds) for the BeLoved Village project.
Conference 2022 Asheville: when we are able to come together for our next conference in 2022, we will anticipate a new model that will allow attendees to participate in the BeLoved micro home village project.
2021/2022 building continues/Spreading the word: Beginning this fall, TFS will invite College furniture programs to participate in CGG. Allowing students to contribute will teach them through personal experience why this kind of work is important and meaningful. Inspiring the spirit of CGG in the next generation will have lasting impact.
This incarnation of CGG embodies the kinds of possibilities we see for this program. Contributing to something as profound as creating furniture for housing the homeless truly exemplifies the program’s intent.
For complex projects with meaningful results, we have learned that multi-year engagement is critical. Extending support will enable us to forge deeper, longer-term relationships in communities and engage our membership in the process resulting in big payoffs for the housing insecure community in Asheville.
STEAM Studio is a makerspace specifically combining the curricular forces of Engineering and Art and co-founded by faculty and staff from multiple disciplines to primarily support interdisciplinary collaborations.
BeLoved Asheville creates innovative solutions to some of the toughest challenges they face as a community. They try to put love into action daily through these solutions to make their community better.
In this iteration of Craft for a Greater Good, Annie & Ellie will be the liaison between TFS and our partners at STEAM Studios and our membership to explore the design-build process which includes developing designs, and prototyping furniture for tiny homes that will be used by BeLoved Asheville as they serve the homeless population in Asheville.
The launch of our new Local Resident Fellow position will allow us to forge a deeper connection and long-term commitment to our host city, ensuring the success of this program.
STEAM Boys Boat Build
STEAM Girl Band Saw
STEAM Girl Drilling
STEA Mbirds eye view
STEAM Wood Turn
STEAM Boyw Chair
STEAM Kids Working
STEAM Designwith Kids
ACC/TFS American Craft Forum: Winter 2023
The American Craft Council kicked off their 2023 year of American Craft Forums with a conversation exploring an inspiring partnership between The Furniture Society’s Craft for a Greater Good program and BeLoved Village. Through this collaboration, craft artists are contributing handmade furniture, homegoods, and more to a set of tiny homes being built in Asheville, North Carolina, for those who struggle with housing insecurity. Community is stronger with craft, and this partnership is a true, feet-on-the-ground example of the handmade making a difference in building stronger, more engaged communities.
Reverend Amy Cantrell created BeLoved Asheville with the intention of building a community for everyone, and BeLoved Village is one of many projects that she started to realize that mission. The Furniture Society’s Craft for a Greater Good program creates opportunities for the organization to contribute and give back to local communities. Thanks to a partnership with UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, Furniture Society members and artists Ellie Richards and Annie Evelyn were selected as Local Resident Fellows to work with Cantrell and BeLoved Village to bring handcrafted elements to this neighborhood of micro-houses. A touch of handmade is helping turn what started out as simple, quality houses into homes with a good deal of heart.
Read more about this collaboration in the American Craft Winter 2023 article “Turning Houses Into Homes.”