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History of the Craft Shop

At a period of time when there were over two hundred student unions with craft centers around the country and with the enthusiastic backing of Earl Pond and other student union departmental directors, the Idaho State University Craft Shop was established; opening its doors to students, faculty, staff, and the community seven days a week, starting November 3, 1971, under the direction of Dave Mills.

Mills directed the Craft Shop for approximately six years, followed by Margo Proksa for six more years until 1984, when assistant director Phyllis Anderson took over as director in 1984. When she retired in 1998, her assistant director, Phil Jenkins. Phil retired in 2010,Mary Miller took over the job in 2012. Alesha Kelley is the currtent director. Starting her job August of 2022.

Through the years, the Craft Shop became more recognized as a university relations and outreach program while hosting an NCCA conference on the role of craft centers, a western states conference on Art Materials and Health Hazards supported in part by several grants, including grants from the Idaho Commission of the Arts, and a regional ACUI conference. The Craft Shop also supported Vacation College during the 1980s, which was a part of the Continuing Education Outreach Program, and the Special Olympics.
The Craft Shop continues to participate in the Continuing Education Outreach program through workshops and demonstrations featuring numerous diverse artists and artisans provided upon request from ISU departments, student organizations, private and public schools, churches and social groups. We believe these contributions have helped the Craft Shop stay active. Currently, there are less than a handful of craft centers still active in the United States with the Idaho State University Craft Shop being one of the most active.