Star Tesselation Dish ST 14 (detail), Drummond Masterton, 2007. Photo: Nick Moss

Frequently asked questions

  1. About us
  2. Information about craft
  3. The Crafts Council website

    How to find:
  1. About us


    What is the Crafts Council?
    The Crafts Council is the national development agency for contemporary craft in the UK. Our goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft. Through our different departments and partnerships our work includes professional development programmes for makers, promoting craft education, innovative exhibitions and events and ongoing research, development and advocacy work in to the craft and wider arts sector.

    Our aims

    • To build a strong economy and infrastructure for contemporary craft
    • To increase and diversify the audience for contemporary craft
    • To champion high quality contemporary craft practice nationally and internationally

    Our Values
    We believe: craft plays a dynamic and vigorous role in the UK's social, economic and cultural life; that everyone should have the opportunity to make, see, collect and learn about craft; that the strength of craft lies in its use of traditional and contemporary techniques, ideas and materials to make extraordinary new work; that the future of craft lies in nurturing talent; young people must be able to learn about craft at school and have access to excellent teaching throughout their education.

    Over 2,000,000 people visited Crafts Council events in 2011, and our website attracted over 275,000 unique visitors. Over 400,000 people saw our five Crafts Council exhibitions in the same year, a further 27,000 people attended Origin and COLLECT and over 7,000 children and young people participated in our nationwide initiatives Firing Up and Craft Club.

    What does the Crafts Council do?
    The Crafts Council works to raise the profile of contemporary craft through critical debate and by building an evidence base demonstrating the nature and value of craft. It supports makers' professional development, builds the market for contemporary craft by running fairs and promoting export, and works to encourage participation and learning, promoting opportunities for interaction and informal engagement with craft.

    We also have a major collection of contemporary craft – probably the most wide-ranging in the UK – which we lend to museums, galleries and other venues and which sometimes also features in our exhibitions.

    For up to date news and information from the Crafts Council, sign up to our e-bulletin.

    Follow Crafts Council UK on Facebook and Twitter.

    The Crafts Council also publish Crafts magazine six times a year. Find out more about Crafts magazine and how to subscribe.

    How is the Crafts Council funded?
    The Crafts Council receives public funding via Arts Council England. It also earns income from a number of its activities including fees from organisations participating in events such as COLLECT, ticket sales to people attending these events and sales and advertising income through publications including Crafts magazine. It also receives gifts and donations from individuals via its supporters' schemes and from charitable trusts and foundations for projects with social, cultural and other benefits in line with their objectives.

    Find out more about our funding, and how you can help to support our work.

    What is the organisational structure of Crafts Council?
    In 1971 the Crafts Advisory Committee (CAC) was formed to advise the government 'on the needs of the artist craftsman and to promote a nation-wide interest and improvement in their products'. The first CAC meeting was held at the Council of Industrial Design (now the Design Council) on 6 October 1971 and was chaired by the Conservative minister Lord Eccles – who had responsibility for the arts. Lord Eccles opened the meeting with an outline of the kind of areas which the CAC might usefully investigate: loans and grants, exhibitions, regional links and craft education in schools.

    In April 1979 the CAC was renamed the Crafts Council. It established independence from the Design Council and was granted a Royal Charter in 1982 'to advance and encourage the creation and conservation of works of fine craftsmanship and to foster, promote and increase the interest of the public in the works of fine craftsmen and the accessibility of those works to the public in England and Wales'.

    The Crafts Council is a Registered Charity (Charity Number 280956) and one of Arts Council England's National Portfolio Organisations.

    Find out more about our Board of Trustees and Senior Management Team.

    Find out about the various Crafts Council departments.

    Keep up to date with news and schemes from the Crafts Council by subscribing to our e-bulletin.

    Does the Crafts Council have a permanent gallery and shop?
    The Crafts Council works with partner venues and organisations across the UK to create opportunities for people throughout the country to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft. Over 2,000,000 people visited Crafts Council events in 2011, and our website attracted over 275,000 unique visitors. Over 400,000 people saw our five Crafts Council exhibitions in the same year, a further 27,000 people attended Origin and COLLECT and over 7,000 children and young people participated in our nationwide initiatives Firing Up and Craft Club.

    Our office in London is our administrative headquarters and we do not have a permanent gallery and shop onsite. We closed the former shop and gallery based in Islington in 2006 to enable us to spread our resources more widely.

    Find all Crafts Council exhibitions, events and other activities on What's On.

    Sign up to our e-bulletin to keep up to date on our news and events.

    What is the Crafts Council Collection?
    The Crafts Council Collection is the UK's foremost collection of contemporary craft, embracing all craft disciplines and featuring the most important makers of the last 40 years. With over 1400 objects, the Collection provides a distinctive and authoritative view of contemporary craft, from its interface with design to its cross-over with digital art.

    The Collection includes ceramics, glass, metal, jewellery, furniture, textiles, wood, basketry, automata, calligraphy, lettering and bookbinding, as well as more unexpected work such as video, plastics and light. It is an exceptional resource for learning about makers, methods and materials.

    Works in the Collection feature in Crafts Council Touring Exhibitions and projects; as loans to museums, galleries and other venues across the UK.

    You can search for objects in the collection on the Photostore website.

    Crafts Council Handling Collection
    The Crafts Council Handling Collection currently comprises over 700 objects including ceramics, jewellery, textiles, furniture, glass, metal and basketry accompanied by sketches, books and background material.

    Handling Collections actively engage learners, whether children or adults, with objects and help to impart a sense of awe and curiosity about the pieces, their materials and how they are made. Our vision reinforces the role of the Handling Collection at the centre of our participation, learning and engagement in schools and community groups alongside the primary Collection.

    Find out more about the Handling Collection

    How do you acquire new works for the Crafts Council Collection?
    Under our Acquisitions Policy all acquisitions are based on proposals put forward to the Crafts Council by a network of specialist advisors who engage in making, writing and teaching craft. The Crafts Council has a modest annual purchase fund from its core budget and also seeks additional funds from supporters including its patrons and other funds e.g. the Art Fund.
    Find out more about the selection criteria, how works are proposed and how acquisitions are made.

    I have an object I would like to donate to the Crafts Council Collection/leave to the Crafts Council as a legacy
    Our Acquisition Policy means that we are not usually able to accept donated works into the Crafts Council Collection. We are able to accept donations to our Handling Collection, used in schools and with community groups to engage learners with objects and materials.

    Please contact us about donating to the Crafts Council and we can discuss possible options. Email development@craftscouncil.org.uk

    How can I find out more about working at the Crafts Council?
    All job vacancies at the Crafts Council, including volunteering opportunities are published on our website.

    How do I become a member of the Crafts Council?
    There are many ways of keeping in touch and finding out more about the work that we do, including networks providing resources for particular groups including the Craft Action Network for educators and Craft Rally for makers.

    You can also get more actively involved with the Crafts Council – and enjoy exclusive benefits – through becoming a Patron, Ruby Circle member and through supporting our work. You can find out more here.

    See the About Us section for details and sign up to our e-bulletin to keep up to date with opportunities.

    Volunteers and work placements
    A limited number of volunteer assignments are currently available. See the Craft Club volunteer events page for more details.

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  3. Information about craft

    How can I find out more about the contemporary craft sector generally?
    Our research presents the latest thinking, statistics and perspective on the contemporary craft sector. All our research reports, briefing notes and policy briefings can be found in the Research and Information section of this website.

    Keep in touch with Crafts Council news and information and sign up to our e-newsletter. By signing up you can expect to receive a bi-monthly e-bulletin with news on our events and initiatives. You will also hear from us from time to time about our larger events and important news for the sector. You can opt out at any time.

    Follow Crafts Council UK on Facebook and Twitter.

    If you are a journalist looking for research, information and statistics on contemporary craft, contact our press office: media@craftscouncil.org.uk or telephone +44 (0)20 7806 2549

    Crafts magazine provides insight into the sector on a bimonthly basis and subscribing is a good way of keeping up to date with industry changes. Read articles online, subscribe and purchase single copies here.

    Where can I find professional development information for makers?
    Information about Crafts Council schemes for maker development can be found in the Maker Development section of the website.

    If you have specific questions relating to your craft practice or are looking for business advice, you may find them in the Maker Development resources pdf.

    The Craft Directory features listings for makers including funding opportunities, studio spaces and other opportunities. You can search for opportunities here.

    If you have an opportunity for makers, you can apply to have this included on our online Craft Directory. Simply download and complete the opportunities pdf form and email to comms@craftscouncil.org.uk.

    Does the Crafts Council fund or sponsor individual makers or other craft organisations?
    As a publicly funded organisation the Crafts Council is not in a position to sponsor other organisations or individuals or fund activity that it is not directly involved in. Our funds are fed directly into our own programming.

    There are a number of useful resources on funding opportunities on websites such as a-n and there are many maker opportunities listed on the Opportunities section of our website.

    How can I see Crafts Council Touring Exhibitions across the UK?
    You can find all our upcoming events on the What's On pages of the Crafts Council website.

    You can also keep up to date on all our events and news by joining our mailing list and following Crafts Council UK on Facebook and Twitter.

    How can I find a craft maker in my area? I want to buy something or commission them to make something
    Use our Craft Directory to search for makers and organisations by location and discipline. Start your search here.

    How can I use the Crafts Council Research Library?
    If you would like to make an appointment to use the Research Library, please call Reception on +44 (0) 20 7806 2500.

    Apart from your exhibitions, where else can I see and learn more about contemporary craft?
    If you want to find more public craft collections across the UK, use our map to find what you are looking for.

    Crafts magazine publish a guide to craft outlets in the UK every year, and include classified listings in every issue. Contact +44(0)20 7806 2542 to find out how to purchase a copy.

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  5. About the Crafts Council website

    How to find:

    The Crafts Council e-bulletin
    Keep in touch with Crafts Council news and information and sign up to our e-newsletter. By signing up you can expect to receive a bi-monthly e-bulletin with news on our events and initiatives. You will also hear from us from time to time about our larger events and important news for the sector. You can opt out at any time.

    Exhibitions & Events
    Use our What's On listings to find current and up-coming craft events across the UK.

    Courses and workshops
    You can find selected courses and events on our What's On listings.

    Search our Craft Directory to find a wide range of courses, workshops and classes in your area and subject interest.

    Crafts magazine publishes information about upcoming exhibitions and courses every two months. Subscribe to receive regular, up to date details on events to your door.

    Information for teachers and schools
    The Participation and Learning team promote learning about craft for young people across the UK. Find out more about educational programmes and resources.

    Research and information into the craft sector
    Our research presents the latest thinking, statistics and perspective on the contemporary craft sector. All our research reports, briefing notes and policy briefings can be found in the Research and Information section of the website..

    The Crafts Council Collection
    Find out more about and view the Crafts Council Collection on our website.

    Craft related opportunities
    Use the Craft Directory to find other opportunities including studio space, call for applications, funding and commissions from organisations across the UK and internationally.

    Makers in my area
    If you are looking for makers in your area, you can search the National Register of Makers (NRM) on our Craft Directory. You can search by area and discipline e.g ceramics or weaving.

    Information about the National Register of Makers
    The Crafts Council is in the process of re-developing its website. Whilst we go through this transitional phase and assess what kind of website will best serve the sector, we will not be adding any more individuals to the Craft Directory.

    In the meantime we encourage you to sign up to the Crafts Council e-bulletin to receive updates on our activity and opportunities for makers.

    Updating your details
    If you are already on the NRM and want to update or amend your details, email update@craftscouncil.org.uk

    Contacting someone on the NRM
    NRM features contact details for makers – you can contact them directly, and many makers can be contacted via their own websites.

    Information about the Selected Index of Makers
    The Selected Index of Makers forms part of the Photostore image archive, with images and information about makers selected by an independent panel from 2000 - 2006. You can search and view work on the Photostore website.

    We are currently reviewing our image collections online and at this time are not accepting new applications. However, you can view work from makers in our Collection here, and search through over 3,000 makers on the National Register of Makers (NRM).

    If you are currently on the Index of Makers and have a query, email photostore@craftscouncil.org.uk.

    How can I advertise a craft related opportunity on your website?
    If you have an opportunity for makers, you can apply to have this included on our website on the Craft Directory. Simply download and complete the opportunities pdf form and email to comms@craftscouncil.org.uk.

    Banner advertising is currently available on the Crafts magazine pages in three size formats. Download the media pack to find out more about advertising with Crafts, whether online or print.

    Can I use images from your website?
    We are currently developing a new resource to search and use the Crafts Council Collection and other Crafts Council images, launching later in 2013. If you require an image for publication, please email comms@craftscouncil.org.uk for further information, prices and copyright information.

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