Our fifth installment in our Craft to Art series covers Musical Instruments and their history of use, importance in defining regional culture, material construction, and evolution of design in Southern Appalachia.

This iteration of the Craft to Art series will focus on musical instruments and instrument accessories made by artisans of Southern Appalachia with a focus on communities in the mountain forests of Western North Carolina, SW Virginia, and West Virginia. Consisting of approximately 30 objects, the exhibit will show how the craft is a place-making practice that fosters relationships between people, things, and environments through the pursuit of musical tone. The collection of objects will largely focus on stringed acoustic instruments frequently played in regional musical traditions but will also feature percussive and woodwind instruments sourced directly from active makers, along with artists’ statements to accompany the objects. Telling the story of making through the processes of “Learning,” “Becoming,” and “Meaning” ingrained in musical instrument craft, audiences will learn about its global connections, traditions and history, environment stakes, and breadth of diversity. Plans for instruments, molds, and tools will complement the objects to further illustrate the process and demonstrate the craft’s arduous practices and expressive choices. Sound samples of instruments being played and a school collection of tonewoods will round out a multi-sensory experience for visitors to better grasp the art of the craft beyond the visual and spatial aesthetic.

Guest Curator- Jasper Waugh-Quasebarth (Center for Folklore Studies, The Ohio State University)