Roger Sturdivant joined the Guild in 2014 as a fused glass artist. Though he never had any formal classes in his craft, Roger has become a skilled artist. He enjoys the artistic process, calling it a ‘labor of love.’ His pieces are both colorful and functional.
Although an initial class in stained glass left him uninspired, he later found interest in fused glass. During a cruise to Canada and New England, he saw numerous fused glass pieces, which led to Roger’s interest in the craft. He purchased his first kiln in 2009 and began learning the craft through trial and error. After a few shows, the praise he received from his work led him to learning different processes and eventually purchasing a larger kiln. All of his glass is hand-cut, and he makes his own frit.
Roger is a member of not only the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, but also the Louisiana Crafts Guild and the Tennessee Craft Guild. He has had articles published in several magazines including Mississippi State of Mind, Stages Mississippi, and Today in Mississippi, and his work has been featured on the cover of The Mississippi Encyclopedia (2017).
Among the membership of the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi is the Tutwiler Quilters from northern Mississippi—joining the guild in 1996, and earning Fellow status in 2005. Organized in 1988 by Sr. Maureen Delaney and Sr. JoAnn Blomme, the group was created to help Tutwiler, Mississippi’s local women earn an income and support their families.
Many of the Tutwiler Quilters learned the traditional craft of quilting from their mothers or grandmothers. Preserving this tradition, Tutwiler quilts are made in an Afro-American style. Indigenous to the population of the Mississippi Delta, this style utilizes bold colors, a wide variety of designs, and larger stitches. The quilters often take traditional patterns and alter them to create new and improvised designs. Each quilt is unique and highly prized by their patrons.
In 1990, the quilters received national attention when they appeared on “60 Minutes.” In 1997, they were asked to participate in the Smithsonian Institution’s Festival of American Folk Life in Washington D.C.
Today, more than 25 quilters comprise the organization. Tutwiler Quilters’ products are sold at museums across the US. The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi is honored to have the Tutwiler Quilters among our ranks.
With summer coming to an end and schools doing their best to begin reopening, there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the future. It’s been a rough year, and with everything going on in the world, we want to give you a bit of cheer and try something a little different…
The Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi will be celebrating “Christmas in September!” Both our main gallery in Ridgeland and our gallery in Pearl will be decorated and ready for holiday shoppers. Shoppers at both galleries will also receive a special holiday surprise throughout the month of September.
If this year has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is certain. Come get a head start on your holiday shopping and skip the last minute rush. A wide variety of uniquely handcrafted gifts—each made by members of the Craftsmen’s Guild—will be available in each of our two galleries. Don’t miss this opportunity to check shopping off your holiday list!
Come get some early holiday cheer by shopping our galleries at the Bill Waller Craft Center in Ridgeland or in the Visitor Center at the Outlets of Mississippi in Pearl. We can’t wait to see you!
Marilyn Diehl | Mt. Olive, MS
Member since 2008
Member Classification: Fellow
Medium: Fiber. Artist Categories: Baskets and Caning.
Marilyn Diehl’s nephew, Roger Jamison, began weaving when he was 13. By the time he was 18 in 1994, he was accepted into the Craftsmen’s Guild of Mississippi, Inc. Also a teacher, Marilyn began watching Roger and learning to make baskets. Helping Roger for a year or two, Marilyn had no idea that in 2002 she would buy his business and move his 500-square-foot shop to the Diehl family home nestled on Highway 532 near Hot Coffee, MS.
In the fall of 2015, Marilyn moved the business to its current location on Main Street in Mount Olive and changed the name to the Basket Cottage. Split rattan is used to make the baskets. Solid hickory and oak are used for the handles. The baskets are trimmed with sea grasses, round reed and cane. Each basket is dated, numbered and signed. Marilyn’s baskets have been shipped all over the United States and Canada, as well as Italy, Germany, Brazil and England.