Saturday, 20 March 2010

After Mastercrafts what comes next?

The Mastercrafts TV programs have generated tremendous interest in traditional crafts and highlighted the dedication required to learn the skills. What comes next? another series? we hope so. An end of show mastercrafts party? well sort of.

The Heritage Crafts Association have been working hard to raise the profile of these crafts and bring all the crafts together to campaign for better support and work out ways of keeping the crafts alive and flourishing in the future.

Next Tuesday at the V&A in London things come together. The HCA are holding a forum and press launch event and most of the Mastercrafts mentors are coming along with members of the production team and the book publishers. There will be editors from Crafts magazine, Craft and Design, Country Life, and Jon Henly from the Guardian amongst other journalists who write on crafts. 

At the morning Forum we have representatives of a wide range of crafts organisations from the Basketmakers and Pole lathe Turners to the Craft Potters, Calligraphers, Woodcarvers, Feltmakers, Lacemakers, Upholsterers, Weavers Spinners and Dyers, Artist Blacksmiths and many more. These folk will discuss what we feel is important about traditional crafts and why they should be promoted, we'll discuss what the issues are that face the traditional crafts today and find out if they are the same for all of us or differ across our different areas and finally we will look at how we can work together to ensure the best traditional craft skills survive and flourish in the future.

In the afternoon we have the official press launch with working craftspeople showing off their skills to invited guests including politicians from the Lords and Commons, Craft consultants from funding agencies and trusts, directors of Crafts Council, Craft NI and Craft Scotland amongst many others.

So what will come of all this? What is the aim of the day?

Well it's difficult to say really, we do not want to preempt or impose our ideas on the outcomes of the forum. We will be as interested in listening to what all these crafts have to say. We suspect there are common issues and we hope that there is a feeling that we are all in this together and can work together to share the best of what we do and pass it on to the next generation.

We are very sorry that since the forum is being funded primarily from the committees own donations it has had to have a strict limit on numbers.  We wish many more of our supporters could have been there and we hope to run a larger more inclusive event not too far in the future.

The other exciting news of the day is that we will be launching our friends scheme. Our supporters will now be able to take a more active role in the organisation but signing up as a friend and paying a small annual sub of £12 folk will be able to help us take the work of the HCA on to the next stage. We will not spend this money on expensive membership packages and we will not be spending much time and money actively recruiting. Rather we hope word will spread as it has done so far by word of mouth, we wish to return I guess to the original idea of charities where folk join and give money because they believe in the good cause rather than for the attractive membership package. Friends will all get a vote at the AGM of course and priority invitations to  future events. If you have been waiting to be more involved I am afraid you have to wait just a little while longer. The friends page will go live on the HCA website on Tuesday.

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