Craft Industry Alliance is proud to announce the winners of the first-ever Golden Scissors Awards recognizing excellence in the crafts industry. The awards ceremony took place live on stage at h+h Americas at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois today. Five outstanding craft professionals were recognized in front of an audience of several hundred of their peers for their contributions to the industry.

The craft industry is made up of both world-class corporations and thousands of visionary small business owners, whose never-ending creativity continually lifts the entire sector to new heights. The Golden Scissors Awards are an opportunity for the industry to acknowledge those who have offered outstanding leadership and innovation and made important contributions to the industry as a whole.

Nominations for the awards opened in January of this year and were open for a month. In March each nominee was considered individually and confidentially by a panel of five judges nominated by the Craft Industry Alliance Board of Advisors. Judges for this year’s awards were Brittany Gray, president of EE Schenck, Ed Roth, artist and founder of Stencil1, Kate Butler, Chief Content Officer of Golden Peak Media, Kathy Cano-Marillo, artist and founder of The Crafty Chica, and Dana Williams-Johnson, assistant professor at Howard University and knitter at Yards of Happiness.

“It was an honor to serve as a judge for the 2024 Golden Scissors Awards,” said Gray. “After reviewing all the submissions, I feel even more confident about the short- and long-term success of our industry and am inspired by the creative achievements from the winners and nominees.”

“I was happy to be a part of recognizing such great leaders in the craft industry who are striving to make positive impacts on the craft industry as a whole,” said Williams-Johnson.

Craft Industry Alliance would like to thank the sponsors of this year’s Golden Scissors Awards program. Their support in this first year was a demonstration of their support of our industry and the importance of recognizing talent. Thank you to Spoonflower, Universal Yarn, Jimmy Beans Wool, and Famore. Each award winner received a beautifully engraved, personalized pair of golden scissors made for them by Famore to honor their achievement.

Thank you to our awards sponsors:

The winners:

For Emerging Leader, the award goes to someone who is making a difference in the lives of countless young people in her home country of Nigeria. Through her organization, Tunnizze Creation, she has set a goal to reach 20,000 African children with the skills of knitting and crochet. We are so pleased to welcome her all the way from Lagos. The winner is Elizabeth Okeyele-Olatunji.

For Sustainability, the award goes to the indie yarn dyer of Road Trip Sock Yarn who has worked to make every single step of her process better for the environment. From reusable materials, to printing on post-consumer recycled paper, to sourcing energy from renewable and solar and creating a home water collection system. She’s also collaborated with the Colorado Tree Coalition to facilitate planting trees in her home state. The winner is Ali Pate.

For Innovation, the award goes to two co-founders who have come up with an organization that eases grief, creates community, and inspires generosity. The Loose Ends Project matches volunteer handwork finishers with projects people have left unfinished due to death or disability and now has more than 20,000 volunteers globally who have completed 2,000 projects. The winners are Masey Kaplan and Jen Simonic.

For Social Impact, the award goes to the organizer of the Piece-ful Protest Quilt Exhibit which features 36 quilted textiles of protest art. Recognized by the State of California as an award-winning Master African American textile artist and culture bearer, she organized this exhibit to be shown in Laguna Beach California where it had a significant impact in furthering the understanding of open-minded diversity and inclusivity. The winner is Allyson Allen and accepting on Allyson’s behalf today is her dear friend Paula White.

And finally, last but definitely not least, for Lifetime Achievement, the award goes to someone who, beginning in 1987, worked with spinning mills all over the world to develop yarn collections that would inspire makers and promote handknitting. Now retired, he was a hands-on leader who knew every aspect of every person’s job at his company, Berroco. He generously shared his industry knowledge and was a mentor to every member of his team. A pillar in the industry for 40 years, he ran the company with a sharp business acumen, family pride, and great respect for his team. The award goes to Warren Wheelock.  

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