president's message 

Welcome to the World Crafts Council International website.

The World Crafts Council has a wonderful heritage having celebrated its 50th anniversary only recently in 20. Originally established in the 1960’s it has brought together  craftspeople and organisations from all over the globe with a shared commitment to promoting the values of craft and artisanship.  Our members are active in Europe, Asia, North America, Latin America and Africa.  Through our regional activities and international programmes we are committed to promoting craft and making sustainable businesses; and to sharing our knowledge and expertise to the benefit of craft.

Rosy Greenlees, OBE, President, WCC International

Craft and making has universal value. It really does transcend barriers and different cultures. It is something unique to human beings.  You can visit many different countries and engage with the people of that country through the things that they make and the objects that speak of their own special culture.

Across the world makers are using their deep understanding of materials, exceptional skills and creativity to produce awe inspiring, challenging, beautiful things.  From the traditional horse hair work of Chile to the embroidered surgical implants of the UK, from the Phoenician glass of Hebron to the batik of Indonesia.  Makers are working in group studios in cities, on their looms at home, or in workshops deep in the countryside.  They bring something very special to the world today: a thread linking us to the deep roots and heritage of craft, a connection to the physical world and a reminder that we are homo faber – man the maker. 

But we do have some challenges.

How do we bring on a new generation of makers? Even in countries where craft still has a very important part to play in the economy children and young people don’t necessarily see a future in craft, they are not taught craft skills or encouraged to think about it as a profession. 

How are craft businesses sustained in a global context? Craft businesses are small – often only one or two people. They are not necessarily seen as an economically productive endeavour.  And yet we are seeing an increasing value placed on creativity where craft skills and expertise are an important contributor to society. Craft contributes to sectors such as fashion, architecture, design.  If you are an engineer or a surgeon you need exellent making skills.

And how do we raise the profile of craft?   Our society does not always recognise the value of making and puts more emphasis on academic rather than practical activities.  Yet our world is made of physical things and we still need the knowledge and understanding of craft.  We need to demonstrate the contribution craft can make to society whether economic or social.

These three challenges are relevant across the whole of the world.  Some countries have a much greater commitment and policies to supporting their crafts, others less so, but we cannot sit back and assume all will be well. 

So the World Crafts Council has an important job to do.  On this website you can find details of our work, membership, our regional World Crafts Councils, and our two key initiatives Craft Cities and the Award for Excellence.   Please join us in ensuring craft is a vital and dynamic sector in the 21st century.

Rosy Greenlees, OBE

WCC International President

2017 - 2020

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