From Aleene's autobiography, Aleene, A Tacky Lady:
"I don't know what inspired me to come up with the idea for a Craftmaker's Caravan, but like most good ideas, it was the follow-through that made it a great success, both for us [the Aleene's business] and for the crafts industry as a whole."
The Craftmaker's Caravan
The Craftmaker's Caravan was credited with being the "start" of the craft industry and Aleene was given credit for being the pioneer in the industry.
It was in the fall of 1967 that the idea for a nationwide caravan first came to Mom. It would be a way to educate the public on what crafts were all about. Immediately, she started to plan it out.
At first, she was only going to do it in a small way. But when Hazel Pearson (Hazel Pearson Handicrafts) and Carl "Gus" Gustafsson (Natcol Plastics), wanted to join her, she expanded the idea to include some 33 major cities over a period of six months. As a result, she exposed many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people to crafts.
Gus had a business in liquid plastic resins. You might remember the resin grapes? Well, the originals would have been from this era.
At the time, Hazel Pearson, who was to become one of Aleene's best friends, was teaching crafts and just getting her own business off the ground.
The Craft Caravan really jump-started the whole craft industry. Up until that time there was no clearly-defined industry, no trade association, and no crafts stores. They just didn't exist. The Aleene's products were beginning to show up in hobby shops, and a few department stores, but after the Craft Caravan, there was a sprouting of crafts stores in many of the cities the Caravan visited.