Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mississippi Craft Center

We just returned from our annual trip to Mississippi where we visit with my family and friends there and go to put flowers on the grave sites of my parents, grandparents, and other relatives. The area was lush and green this year. They've had plenty of rain this spring and the wildflowers and gardens certainly testify to that.

Every year, we try to vary our route so that we get to see a different part of the country. This year, we went through central Louisiana and entered Mississippi at Natchez.

Natchez is a very old river town, established in the 1700s, and, of course, it is famous for its ante bellum homes and the "pilgrimage" to those homes every spring when they are at their height of beauty. But we didn't visit any of them on this trip. Been there, done that before.

Instead, we headed out of town on the Natchez Trace Parkway, a 444 mile scenic route that goes all the way from Natchez to Nashville. We made our first stop just outside of Natchez.  


Emerald Mound, as you can read from the sign, is the second largest temple mound found in the United States. It is a relic of the Mississippian culture which flourished here and all the way up the big river north into Illinois in the 1300s to 1600s before Europeans came to the area.

The Mississippians were forbears of the Natchez Indians who populated the area at the time of the European invasion. This sign shows how the mound was constructed on top of an existing hill.

This is the very top of the mound which is 65 feet tall and spreads over eight acres. You can walk all the way to the top - although I didn't. It was steamy hot out there!

Heading north from Natchez, our next stop was just north of Jackson at the Mississippi Craft Center. We try to make it a point to stop here every year, no matter what route we are taking. It is a wonderful place.

This is the exterior of the modern building which houses the craft center. It contains crafts of all kinds from all over the state and, in some cases, from surrounding states. Our house holds many examples of these crafts that we have purchased here over the years.


On the grounds in front of the building was a display of many metal sculptures from various craftsmen. Some of them were made from old farm implements. All of them exhibited a sense of humor.


I found all of these "human" sculptures particularly fun. They made me smile.





Inside the building, the visitor finds many more traditional kinds of crafts - doll-making, for example.


I am really not sure how to categorize this!


Wood-turning is very popular. These beautiful boxes are prime examples. There were also many, many unique wooden bowls, one of which caught my husband's eye and he brought it home with us where it now resides on our living room coffee table.


There are also numerous examples of pottery in all shapes and forms.


Figurines in many different kinds of materials, from metal to fabric and just about everything in between, are another popular item.


Bottle trees are traditional features of southern gardens. I have one in mine, but it doesn't look like this! This is a very non-traditional bottle tree in the shape of a peacock.


The Choctaw Indians of the area contribute their wonderfully colorful baskets to the mix. You can find baskets in all sizes from the tiniest ones on the table here to monsters that could hold a medium-sized child. I have bought a few of these baskets over the years and I treasure them.

The craftsmen and craftswomen also make wonderful objects from gourds, some of which are shown here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg really. There is so much more here, from quilts to metal crafts to intricate stained glass objects to unique one-of-a-kind furniture. If you are ever in the Jackson area, by all means, you should make it a point to visit the Mississippi Craft Center.

We still had much farther to go, so we headed north again. It was a lovely drive. The wildflowers along the roadside were never more beautiful. The Natchez Trace Parkway is another treasure of the National Park System. It is a shame that sequestration has forced it to close some of the restrooms along the long drive and has impacted other services of the National Park Service - but that's a rant for another day.


4 comments:

  1. I love the Trace and the craft center ... always come home with a little something. Last time I made the drive from Natchez to Jackson on the Trace -- there weren't a lot of restrooms open then ... this was shortly after IKE had visited here.

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    1. This time the damage to the Trace was done by our worthless Congress!

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  2. I have been to Natchez and the Indian Mounds, its a very beautiful and quiet place. However, I've never heard of the craft center, now I want to visit there! I was born in Ms. and lived there for many years, I love the whole state of Mississippi!
    Dorothy

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    1. If you are ever in Jackson, head north on the Natchez Trace and a few miles along you'll see a sign on the right directing you to the Mississippi Craft Center. Just follow the signs. It really is a wonderful place to visit. The variety of crafts available there is just mind boggling.

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