Grey Bloom by Michael Eden, 2010

We are 40!

We are 40!

Crafts Council at 40

We celebrated our 40th anniversary in 2011 with a bumper year of activity; 400,000 visitors saw five exhibitions in London and across the UK, 27,000 people attended our two craft fairs Origin and COLLECT, and over 7,000 children and young people participated in nationwide initiatives.

We entered our fifth decade along with UK craft organisations including Electrum Gallery and West Dean College, some further afield including the Crafts Council of Ireland and the Glass Art Society, fashion brand Mulberry, rock icons Queen and the whole Northern Soul movement.

In the catalogue for Collect 2011, Martina Margetts’ essay ‘From Leach to Etsy’ eloquently encapsulates the mood of the time, and how the craft sector has changed and evolved over the period. She describes “the craft revival and survival over recent decades as due to producers and consumers and their mediators collaborating in a shared endeavour to express a human side to lived experience”. We believe this sentiment is embodied in our goal to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft, where collaboration is key. Above all, we exist to help makers and curators to be ambitious and to take risks; to build a strong economy and infrastructure for contemporary craft; to increase the audience; and to champion the best of British work.

You can read Martina’s full article here.

Throughout the country, times are tough – but so is craft. As our Chair remarks, it is “a feisty, independent-minded, sparky, polished gem”. Our Craft Champions – makers, designers, collectors, artists, craft-lovers – all speak of its importance and resilience.

Crafts Council Chair, Joanna Foster CBE and Executive Director Rosy Greenlees look forward to another forty years of making here.

Below, you can find out more about our celebratory events in the autumn of 2011 and into early 2012, and you can read all about visitor responses here.

Longer term, 40:40 is a new online exhibition profiling forty iconic objects from the Crafts Council Collection, supported by the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation

This online exhibition represents the start of an important project to give online visitors deep, rich contextual information to accompany each of the 1400+objects in the Crafts Council Collection.

We need support to complete this project and we have launched the Ruby Circle alongside our patrons’ scheme to support this work. Please help if you can.

  • 40th anniversary events
  • Anemone hat designed by Sylvia Fletcher, © James Lock Co Ltd

    Power of Making: celebrates the role of making in our lives. A V&A and Crafts Council exhibition

    6 September 2011 – 2 January 2012

    one of the most absorbing, educational and inspiring exhibitions I’ve seen … There is nothing here that is not firmly rooted in the present, however old the methods used to make it.
    Nancy Durrant, The Times, 8 September

    shines a light on objects and their makers, and invites us to contemplate what it is exactly that these people do, and how we should evaluate what they offer us… without their talents we would live such woebegone lives
    Michael Glover, Independent, 8 September

    Completely compelling … Power of Making – the curator is saying – it’s infinite; human making is infinite.
    John Carey, Saturday Review, Radio 4, 10 September

    V&A Exhibition website

    Read Rosy Greenlees’s comments about the Power of Making on the DCMS’s guest blog.

  • Lost in Lace: New approaches by UK and international artists

    Lost in Lace: New approaches by UK and international artists

    29 October 2011 to 19 February 2012

    Autumn, 2011, brought an exciting new exhibition to the Gas Hall, Birmingham, in partnership with Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

    “Discover an unexpected side to lace, with large-scale work from international artists” The Times, Critic’s Choice

    “Come with an open mind and prepare to be enlightened” Birmingham Mail

  • Hunter Jacket, Embodying Ethics, Rohan Chhabra, 2010. Photo: Rohan Chhabra

    Block Party: Contemporary craft inspired by the art of the tailor

    London launch 22 September 2011, first touring venue Smiths Row, Bury St Edmunds 14 January – 10 March 2012

    Block Party is a new Touring Exhibition which launched on the 22 September at designjunction. The exhibition celebrates the skill of the pattern cutter and tailor and explores the creative possibilities of this craft, presenting artists who push pattern-cutting beyond the fashion garment.

  • Ruby Circle

    Ruby Circle

    To help celebrate 40 years of contemporary craft the Crafts Council has launched the Ruby Circle. Find out how you can help.

    Find out more

Download documents

  • Crafts Council Collection: 40 years of contemporary craft

    Download (246KB Pdf File)

See also