Start your exploration of craft in the Triangle with a visit to downtown Raleigh. The North Carolina Museum of History highlights N.C. decorative arts including ceramics, metalwork, silver and textiles from the 1600s to the late 1900s. You can also view utilitarian objects used by rural North Carolinians to beautify their world, including quilts, tools and home furnishings. The museum has the nation’s largest collection of furniture made by Thomas Day, a free man of color who owned and operated one of N.C.’s largest cabinet shops prior to the Civil War.
Exit the museum, which is across the street from the State Capitol building and walk a few minutes to Raleigh's Artspace, a visual arts center which strives to make the creative process accessible to the public. You can stroll galleries featuring exhibitions by regional, national and international artists and visit tenant and resident artists at work. While craft is not a sole focus, you're likely to find fiber art, handcrafted jewelry, pottery and other crafts in the studios and often in the galleries. Check the exhibition calendar to see what's on view.
Ten minutes away by car, the Gregg Museum of Art & Design at NC State University features a collection of textiles, ceramics, modern furniture, outsider and folk art. It presents six to eight exhibitions each year in its two galleries and exhibitions in publicly accessible places in the university's Talley Student Center and around campus. The Gregg will be moving to a new home on Hillsborough Street in the next few years.
A half-hour drive will bring you to Durham’s Golden Belt, one of the city’s last historic textile mills restored with lively artist studios, businesses and living spaces. You’ll find metalsmiths, printmakers and mixed media artists among the occupants. The nearby
Durham Arts Council operates The Clay Studio, a warehouse ceramics facility, and offers more than 700 classes annually, including glass, jewelry, metals, ceramics, sculpture and collage. It maintains three galleries in its historic building, one of which is occupied by the Durham Art Guild. You're likely to find ceramics, fiber art, enamel, wood and mixed media works here — check their exhibition schedules to learn more. The N.C. Central University Art Museum, 10 minutes away by car, highlights African American art. Craft is an occasional offering at this small but significant space.
Plan your visit with information on commercial art galleries, art festivals, lodging, dining and other activities found at the
United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County, Visit Raleigh, the Durham Arts Council, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau and VisitNC.com.