Getting Crafty

If there is one thing that the south is known for, other than good home cooking, it is our crafts. Whether it is quilting, basket weaving, pottery or even candle making, the craftsmen/women of the South know the value of handmade products. “It’s a lot of hard work, but it gives me more freedom with my time,” said Jessica Capps, WCU student and local potter. Capps has been creating handmade jewelry and pottery since the summer of 2005. When Capps was younger, her grandmother had a large influence on her crafting technique. Living across the street, Capps’ grandmother would quilt, make clothes and create many other sewing projects. When Capps began her adventures in jewelry making and pottery, she looked to her grandmother for inspiration. Thanks to the support of southern communities, Capps feels as though her business has flourished. “There are a lot more craft festivals [in the south],” said Capps. These festivals are held annually throughout the south. One such festival that is held on Western Carolina University’s campus is Mountain Heritage Day; which showcases music, crafts, and arts of the south. However, with the rise of corporate chains, such as Wal-Mart, it is making it harder for craftsmen/women to continue their crafts. “It’s difficult to find stuff in the stores,” said Capps. None the less, the internet has become a great source of supplies for many craftsmen/women. The history of crafting is one that is difficult to trace, since the majority of what is considered crafts today, were actually once a necessity. However, to fast forward a little, crafting really began to make its “comeback” in the 40s and during WWII. As an effort to conserve materials, many people began to sew and make items that were necessary for comfortable living. Then in the 60s and 70s, the “hippie” generation made a movement “back to the land”and the art of crafts was revived. Today crafting is very much alive, especially in the south. It has become a significant part of the southern culture. Visit the Mountain Heritage Museum, located on campus, to learn more about the history of crafting and various craftsmen/women of the south. If you wish to see some of Jessica Capps’ work, visit her site at