From the woodworker in northeast Mississippi to the potter in Ocean Springs, to the metal worker who creates art from cotton machine parts in the Delta, people who create craft connect the distinctive Mississippi craft heritage to Mississippi communities and to the Mississippi landscape. The Mississippi Craft Center is the only museum in the region that tells the story of that connection. We know a basket made from swamp cane rather than white oak is made by Choctaw Indians because they lived in areas where swamp cane thrived. Craft work in Mississippi, like our music, our art, our literature, and our history, is as much a part of what makes Mississippi distinctive as our natural resources.
Potter Conner Burns
Crafts in America have always been prized for their beauty, as well as their utility. The genius of American craft is how a common and utilitarian basket or wooden bowl may become a piece of art when transformed from materials of the land – wood, clay, fiber, metal and minerals by the hands of master craftsmen. The Mississippi Craft Center is all about educating people about this natural resource and marketing the talents of Mississippi artisans. This 20,000 square foot attraction represents over 400 artisans from 19 states and dispays exceptional work that has elevated craft to fine art.
Demonstrations and classes by the master craftsmen of the Guild are held throughout the year.
Expand your horizons and take a craft class taught by one of our master Craftsmen! Click here for complete schedule.
The Center is open 7 days a week: 9 am – 5 pm Monday-Saturday and 12-5 pm on Sundays, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter Sunday.
Mississippi Craft Center, 950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, MS 39157
History of the Craftsmen Guild:
The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, founded in 1973, is a non-profit organization of craftsmen and others interested in preserving contemporary, folk and traditional crafts of MS and the southern region and encouraging the highest standards of excellence in these crafts. The guild implements its goals through sales and marketing of member’s work, public service projects, continuing education in the arts, and special events and exhibits.
Funding is received from membership, contributions and from individuals and corporations, proceeds from the Guild’s gallery, annual events and grants from various local, state and national organizations. Since its beginning more than 35 years ago, the guild has grown from a membership of 30 craftsmen – only two of the original 30 actually earned a living from craft – to more than 400 professional artisans from all over the United States. A ten member jury selects new members twice a year.
Guild programs reach an audience of more than 150,000 people a year. Since 1976, the award-winning Chimneyville Crafts Festival is held the first weekend in December each year and is a draw to fine craft lovers from all over the Southeast. The guild provides free weekend craft demonstrations at the Mississippi Craft Center just off the historic Natchez Trace Parkway on Rice Road in Ridgeland and the “Craftsmanship in the Mississippi Tradition” is a traveling exhibition focusing on Mississippi’s ethnic crafts tradition. Schools and educational programs include the “Suitcase Museum,” an educational program to introduce elementary students to crafts.
In style, training and philosophy, member craftsmen encompass a broad spectrum, ranging from the College professors to artisans working in primitive methods, from paper makers to glassblowers and weavers to woodcarvers. They all share the common interest of craft and rejoice in the challenge and satisfaction of coordinating hand and eye to produce their inner visions.