Mountain Crafts Co-op
Browse through the aisles of the Pine Mountain-Letcher County Craft Co-op and you’ll see items such as intricately carved wooden figurines, cornhusk dolls of all sizes and handcrafted cabinets and bookshelves. “We’re really proud of our crafts,” says Ruth Shackleford, a founding member of the Co-op, a group of 45 artisans who volunteer their time to run the store in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Promoting local crafts is one of the goals of the group.
Charles Hawkins, president of the Co-op, says, “The crafts are a traditional thing that families have been doing for years and years. The Co-op is about preserving the traditional way of doing crafts and encouraging others to try it, too.” To that end, Co-op members have presented workshops on local crafts such as basket-making and quilt tacking to area school children and other community members.
But the Co-op is also about the bottom line: earning income. “The idea was to give local citizens a chance to market their crafts by providing a place to sell them,” explains Ruth. “We get people from all over who drive a long way to get good quality and a good price.” Adds Charles emphatically, “People just needed a place to sell their crafts. With all the unemployment from mine closures, I always said there’s a market out there for anything you’re willing to do.”
50 S Main St