The Handling Collection
The Crafts Council’s dynamic and accessible secondary
collection offers a rich educational resource for a wide variety of learners.
Read about our new ‘In Touch’ initiative using the Handling Collection
The Crafts Council Handling Collection, which was started in 1979 to support the gallery education programme in place at the time, now comprises over 600 objects accompanied by sketches, books and background material. At present, this composition includes:
• Ceramics 292
• Jewellery 38
• Textiles 102
• Furniture 8
• Glass 33
• Metal 44
• Basketry 15
In 2008 we re-started our collecting programme with seven new purchases from makers working on our Revival scheme with ReachOut RCA. This year, we have purchased work from 11 makers in the 2010-2011 round of purchases, supported by a grant from The Steel Trust.
In 2011-2012, our new acquisitions focussed predominantly on textiles (particularly knit and crochet, in line with the growth of the Craft Club initiative into museums, galleries and libraries who wish to access handling loans). New works include:
Anita Bruce – ‘Siphonophora IV’ (hand knitted/ crocheted wire)
Elle Doney – Untitled bowl (glass/ wood)
Nora Fok – ‘OUROBOROS’ (textiles/ mixed-media)
Kate Jenkins – Fried Breakfast (textiles/crochet)
Rowan Mersh – ‘Helix Sculpture’ (textiles/ mixed-media)
Rachel Matthews – ‘Love Token’ and ‘Unfinished Sock’ (textiles/ knit)
Deirdre Nelson – ‘Dowry’ (textiles/crochet
Freddie Robins – ‘A Perfect Body’ (textiles/ knit)
Amy Twigger Holroyd – ‘H&M’ (textiles/knit hacking)
Works are selected for the Handling Collection on several criteria. The revised collecting policy prioritises original work that embodies rich learning potential, especially in its physical and tactile qualities for handling, as well as makers’ conceptual or narrative approaches. We do not collect exclusively in disciplinary categories but look for makers who have been involved in key Crafts Council projects, programmes and specific exhibitions, and whose work is relevant to our goals and research interests (such as the integration of digital technologies and skills). This enables the core focus of our work to be made accessible to a wider and more diverse audience.
Handling Collection Loans Service
Handling real objects is a powerful tool in learning, empowering children by trusting their abilities to handle precious collections and imparting a sense of awe and curiosity about the pieces they come into contact with.
Learning through engagement with objects and materials affords the individual with an exciting real experience through the very nature of the multi-sensory opportunities it offers; in this way it can encompass a range of learning styles.
We are making the Handling Collection available for schools, colleges and public venues across the UK to hire. From September 2011 there will be around 15-20 carefully-selected object loan boxes across a variety of disciplines and themes, some of these created in collaboration with audience focus groups. Contents of the new boxes will be promoted during the Summer Term, to enable advance bookings.
If you are interested in accessing a Handling Collection Loan Box, or would like to find out how it could support a particular project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org