The Traditional Arts in Southeastern Ohio, Part I



Fieldworker: Christianne Vanderplas

The American weathervane and the carved out-house door are just over the ridge.  We look so hard for those old, pure, museum pieces that we miss the new, impure museum pieces on our own ridge.  -- Christianne Vanderplass, "Conclusion," November 3, 1977.

The Traditional Arts in Southeastern Ohio collection looks at the work and lives of craftspeople in Southeastern Ohio in 1977.  Fieldworker Christianne Vanderplass interviewed, photographed, and documented practitioners of woodcarving, rag rug making, pottery and ceramics, quilting, tatting, crewel and lacework, blacksmithery, basket making, knife making, and musical intstrument construction and embellishment.  At the time of collection, many of these arts were no longer handed down exclusivley through family and small friend-groups, but instead were passed along and developed in interest-based communities of practice.  "It should not matter that learning takes place through schools, books, 4-H clubs, or the Boy Scouts," Vanderplass writes.  Additionally, these crafts no longer belonged to the realm of strict utility, and as such, their aesthetic dimensions became all the more significant -- especially because many of the items were made to be sold.