How can craft practice and creative thinking make the world a better place? This is a big question, and one that is addressed in myriad ways by artists, arts organizations, curators, and scholars. We invite you to join us as we kick off our 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, a community 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 program, Craft for a Greater Good connects their annual conferences with the local city community, and looks for ways to contribute and give back. In 2020 The Furniture Society planned their conference in Asheville and reached out to UNC Asheville’s STEAM Studio, who connected them with Cantrell. Despite having to cancel their conference due to COVID-19, the partnership flourished. 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 craft 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.”