Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi Expands the Crafting Family

The Craftsmen Guild of Mississippi supports over 300 local artists from Mississippi and the surrounding areas. This spring we are excited to welcome 10 new members to the Guild as well as congratulate a member who has added a new category to her craft. We would like to recognize each of these skilled Mississippi artists and welcome them to the Guild.

Joining our potters are Diana Douglas, from Utica, and Amber Hunt, from Brandon. Diana Douglas studied ceramics in college. After teaching for a number of years, she now creates totems and wall art. Amber Hunt developed her love of pottery in college and now creates a wide variety of pottery pieces. She owns and runs her own business, ARae Pottery.

Joining our Fiber artists are Aftan Mitchell, from Jackson, and the Chimneyville Weavers and Spinners Guild Co-op. Aftan Mitchell learned to crochet from her grandmother at age 3. Until recently, crocheting has simply been a hobby for her. Now, she sells her work and aims to make pieces that are functional as well as beautiful. The Chimneyville Weavers and Spinners Guild Co-op was established in January, 2020. The Co-op was established by members of the original Chimneyville Weavers & Spinners organization who had been involved with the organization since its establishment in 1981. The co-op was developed in order to help increase the level of professionalism among its members as well as educate the community. They produce a wide variety of beautiful pieces using numerous techniques. In addition to our new members, Katie Clark has expanded her category among our fiber artists. She has been a member of the Guild since 2013 as a crochet artist, but was approved for her new category, knitting, this spring. 

Our new woodworkers include Angela Foster, from Tupelo, and Jonathan McGuire, from Belzoni. Angela Foster has painted for most of her life, and she spent over 30 years as an oil painter. In 2018, however, she became interested in pyrography, or wood burning. She uses both wood and various mixed-media to create beautiful pieces. Jonathan McGuire is a self-taught woodworker who began teaching himself the craft in December of 2018. By April 2019, he was showing work in his first exhibit.

Our new metal workers are Wanda Monk, from Ridgeland, and Chuck Rhoads, from Brandon. Wanda Monk, along with her husband, owns and operates the Lynn Dale Jewelry Creations studio where she uses various techniques to design beautiful jewelry. Chuck Rhoads retired from a career in art education after 28 years of teaching, and he has been a member of the Mississippi Arts Educator Association since 1992. He was introduced to repousse, a hammering technique, while in college and now specializes in the art.

Last but not least are Gracie Nichols, from Hattiesburg, and Kathleen Makupson, from Madison. Gracie Nichols holds a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts, and she currently owns Garage Dog Studio, where she uses both wood and metal to craft beautiful pieces of jewelry. Kathleen Makupson specializes in macramé, which falls under the category of mixed-media. She began making macramé plant hangers in high school, and she now owns her own business, Knot my Thing, where she makes a variety of macramé products.

In order to be accepted for membership or a new category in the Craftsmen’s Guild, each of our new members went through a jury process, which they passed by demonstrating an excellent quality of work and exceptional skill. Our members are our greatest asset, and we are thrilled to expand our Guild family, and we cannot wait to see the work our new members bring to our two galleries located at the Bill Waller Craft Center in Ridgeland and the Outlets of Mississippi in Pearl.