Photo of a colorful broom with broom corn in the background


Students come to Student Craft with majors as varied as Nursing, Environmental Science, and Communications; few are pursuing degrees in Studio Art. As a part of the Labor Program, Student Craft’s fundamental mission is to support the endeavor that no student pays tuition. In this effort, since Student Craft’s founding in 1893, designs have been standardized and all work produced is sold. In 2018, Student Craft began realigning its mission away from history and heritage products to prioritize student-led design and to embrace the power of a holistic craft education. 


The first student-designed product was the Rainbow Baby Blanket, closely followed by the Intersections Cutting Board. Both exemplify that this Student Craft realignment has brought renewed focus to the College’s commitments to impartial love and the kinship of all people. By 2023, 93 percent of the products for sale have been designed by or in close collaboration with students. Their identities and interests now guide what is made at Student Craft, affirming that inclusion and diversity are essential strengths to the program and its products. 


There are approximately 100 students working in Student Craft who, together, produce roughly 6,000 objects for retail sale every year.

Historic Production Items

The objects in this section were made between 1920 and 2018 when the goal of Student Craft was, generally, to produce and sell a high volume of works at low cost. Rather than the program being assessed from an education-first perspective, accounting firms and factory analysts were contracted to assess efficiency from a manufacturing perspective. Goods were sold to automobile tourists at the Log House Craft Gallery on campus and through mail-order catalogs. 


Despite the aim of efficiency, fascinating works that convey the story of the makers and the region persisted. For instance, the weaving pattern from the 1920-1930s purse is called “Barbara Allen” (and later called “Kentucky Rose”) and comes from the title of one of the most famous Appalachian unaccompanied ballads which has been traced back to the British Isles. By contrast, the “Auto Brush” broom from the same period demonstrates a forward-looking approach to craft by accommodating a new, ever more common, mode of transportation.