Craftsmen’s Guild visits Co-Lin
On Jan. 28, members from the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi were featured and exhibited in the Mutton building on Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Wesson Campus.
The exhibit had works of art formed from a variety of medias including metal forging, woodcarving and pottery and was presented by Janet Campbell Smith, head of Co-Lin’s art department.
Bill Peavey, of Crystal Springs, featured multiple pieces he had forged from metal himself, including a handmade steak turner that was also for raffle at the exhibit.
Peavey stated his involvement with the Craftsmen’s Guild began simply with faith. He attended one of the Guild’s meetings at the Agriculture Museum in Jackson one day. Now, he makes multiple pieces of metal and all different types of tools to make his pieces.
Peavey stated it can take up to eight tools to make one piece, and it often involves making your own tools to complete the process such as making tongs and other instruments.
“Metal is kind of like clay; when you get it hot, it gets soft, and you can shape it to your own desires,” explained Peavey.
He added the metal must be heated to “orange-heat,” which is around 1800 degrees before the metal becomes pliable.
Ken Macklemore, of Gulfport, participated in the exhibition to showcase his woodcarving works of art. He added he prefers to be known as a carver as opposed to a wood “maker” because it’s more modern to use mechanized tools to create something. The only tool Macklemore uses is one that keeps his medium stable while he hones it to desired perfection into spoons and bowls.
“There is nothing more relaxing than to get under a shady tree with a sharp knife and a good piece of wood. It does things for your soul,” Macklemore shared.
Macklemore started carving under his father while he worked as a gunsmith. Currently, he works with multiple mediums, but he claims woodcarving as his passion.
Merrie Boerner, of Brookhaven, presented selections from her shelf as well. Boerner is a former student of Smith’s at Co-Lin and shared that becoming involved in the Guild and developing her craft as a potter gives her a sense of identity and uniqueness.
Boerner is a wife and mother of three but became interested and took classes for multiple semesters learning her craft.
Later her husband bought her a potter’s wheel. Over time, Boerner has acquired a kiln and a slab roller as well as an extruder. She now designs, makes and sells her own original works of art at art shows with her husband.
The Craftsmen’s Guild has been around for over 40 years and has helped network and unite artisans all over Mississippi. The organization promotes craftsmen of all mediums, whether traditional or more contemporary, flourish in the art world.
The Guild helps by meeting regularly in addition to hosting classes and hosting art shows and exhibitions.
“The Craftsmen’s Guild is good to put on your resume…It gives your work credibility,” vouched Boerner.