Who We Are: Our History
In 1993 a handful of Western North Carolina residents came together to find a fresh approach to economic development in their mountains. They knew that the region was filled with assets: it boasts some of the oldest, grandest mountains in the world, it is a biodiversity hotspot, and it serves as a home to some of the most creative craft artists in the nation. This small group of citizens therefore realized that this industry of craft artists, working in studios, classrooms, and galleries tucked away throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains, held the key to creative and sustainable economic development.
The organization got its start when it received a three-year organizational development grant from the Pew Partnership for Civic Change. Almost 400 citizens participated in a regional planning process to help determine how the organization could establish Western North Carolina as the center of the handmade object in the United States.
From this process, HandMade in America developed the foundation of its work: