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Build­ing Place, Shaping Iden­tity, Creating Community

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 Studios

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

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.

We Need Your Help

All Hands on Deck!

Help us Inspire young people to work with their hands, engage in creative problem solving, and under­stand the value of making, exem­plify what our field has to offer, and co-create work with lasting social benefit and impact within the community!

2021 Local Resident Fellows

Annie Evelyn & Ellie Richards

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.

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.”