In a quiet spot off Jensen Drive in Thompson Hall, the NC State Crafts Center hums – often late into the evening – with the sounds of potters’ wheels, table saws, hammers and torches. The largest dedicated creative space on campus, the center offers a wide variety of classes, workshops and events for students, faculty, staff and the public.
The center recently hired a new director, Carol Fountain Nix, who is hard at work with her team to develop new courses, promote cross-campus collaborations and improve the center’s visibility.
“Before I became director in March, I was teaching at the College of Design and parked right across the street from the center,” she said. “When I took this position, I couldn’t believe the resources, talent and offerings that the center has – all within a few steps of where I parked every morning. So many people on campus don’t know about the center and I want to change that.”
Since Nix began her new role, she’s worked closely with her team and patrons to preserve the history of the center and to plan for the future.
“The center has such great roots here on campus, but creative interests change and evolve. We have to stay relevant. That doesn’t mean phasing out traditional craft work, but it does mean trying new things, improving our equipment and facilities and finding new ways to support and inspire the artists who use our space.”
Among the special offerings are student-only “CRAFTernoons,” scheduled for Friday afternoons.
Nix is also working with her staff to develop more opportunities for departments and groups across the university, as well as outside businesses, to use the center for team-building activities and meeting space. That effort is paying off, she said.
Register for Fall Courses
The center recently announced its courses for the fall with registration for faculty, staff and the public set to open at 9:05 a.m. Monday, Aug. 7. Courses include fan-favorites such as wood, pottery and photography, as well as new courses in journaling, fashion illustration and metalsmithing.
For information on fees, registration and memberships, visit the center’s website.
Attend the Crafts Fair
In November, the center will host its 33rd annual Crafts Fair, which is expected to draw thousands of people from the campus and community. More than 65 of the center’s instructors, members and students will display and sell premium handmade items at the fair, slated for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18 at the center.
“The fair is our largest event each year – attendees will get to see and purchase the incredible work of our artists firsthand,” Nix said. “It’s also a really great way to get a feel for the variety of things we offer and to support local artists.”
Building on the Legacy
The center has historically offered opportunities for learning, collaboration and growth. Nix said she wants to build on that legacy to help students, faculty, staff and the community explore creativity and ingenuity in a welcoming and diverse environment.
“’Think and Do’ is really what we’re about here,” Nix said. “Success for us looks like people imagining and creating at all levels – from beginner to advanced.”