The Crafts Council is an independent body funded by the Arts Council of England. The Crafts Council offers public access to its own reference library and picture library and Photostore, an electronic image database of contemporary craftwork. It publishes CRAFTS, its own magazine, six times a year, as well as organising Origin The London Craft Fair, COLLECT at the Saatchi Gallery and extensive touring exhibition programmes.
The Crafts Council provides economic support to crafts people by creating opportunities for exhibiting and selling their work and also helps retailers of contemporary craft in several ways through the Take Stock support scheme and our series of Continuing Professional Development days.
The Crafts Council also helps museum professionals with initiatives for curators including the Spark Plug Curator Award, annual conferences, opportunities to borrow from our Collection and listings in our Directory.
The Participation & Learning team promotes life-long learning in craft across the UK. We offer a range of fun and accessible programmes, a craft handling collection and a new professional network for educators, makers and academics interested in contemporary craft and education.
Association or society
The Craft Council's research library is open:
Please see website for details
All public areas of the Council are accessible by wheelchair.
The Crafts Council Collection began in 1972, a year after the Crafts Council (then the Crafts Advisory Committee) was established. The first objects acquired for the Collection date from the time of the British Potters' Exhibition, when pieces by such potters as Bernard Leach, Hans Coper and Lucie Rie were purchased. The Crafts Council continues to acquire work annually and currently has over 1300 objects spanning all the main media including: ceramics, glass, metal, jewellery, furniture, textiles, wood, baskets, automata, calligraphy, lettering and bookbinding. The Crafts Council accepts the definition of craft in its widest sense, from its interface with cutting edge design on the one hand, to its crossover with fine art on the other. Governed by an Acquisition Policy, work is acquired by artists living in England, Wales and Scotland. the work of many internationally acclaimed figures. We aim to maintain a balance between purchasing work from young makers and those already well established. Work is rarely purchased retrospectively, although a leeway of five years does exist. Collection is not constituted as a survey of the crafts overall, but reflects a wide and lively spectrum of activity in contemporary Craft.
The Collection is a lending collection supporting exhibitions and displays through long and short term loans to UK venues.
Design, Decorative and Applied Art, Costume and Textiles, Archives
Twelve Tall Tales
- 22 July — 29 August 2016 *on now
Twelve Tall Tales sees twelve artists, makers and designers tell tales through objects; motivated by their ability to contain, convey and inspire stories.
Selected by designer Onkar Kular for their narrative potential, this eclectic group of works presents varied and unexpected approaches to translating fictional, humorous, cultural, political and historical stories and references into crafted objects.
Twelve Tall Tales - Learning Programme
This family-friendly exhibition will also include a range of interactive learning activities which are suitable for all ages. Throughout Twelve Tall Tales there will also be an in-gallery learning guide available at all times that will help people navigate the objects and stories that interest them.
From 12-4pm on every Thursday and Saturday throughout the exhibition run (22 July- 29 August) one of the exhibition pieces, Play For A Handling Collection will be animated by a facilitator, so that visitors can handle the objects and participate in a choreographed handling session in the gallery.
On Saturday 30 July, Thursday 4 August, Saturday 13 August and Thursday 18 August these activities will be enhanced by talented storyteller Vanessa Woolf who will explore the stories of other objects with Twelve Tall Tales, using a playful mix of fact, fiction and fantasy. These imaginative story-telling sessions will be suitable for children and adults alike.
There is also an opportunity to win a night’s stay at The Hospital Club and dinner for two people. Enter by answering this question: what object you would make to help send someone to space? on social media with #TwelveTallTales and tagging @CraftsCouncilUK. Please click here for more details. We'll judge each entry based on their creativity and announce the winner after 29 August 2016.
- Any age
The Hospital Club
24 Endell St
The Hospital Club is located in central London. The nearest tube station is Covent Garden, but Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road and Holborn are also a short walk away.
A Curious Turn: moving, mechanical sculpture
- 15 September — 2 October 2016
Automata are sculptures which are brought magically to life through a sequence of cogs, cams, cranks and levers. For centuries they have delighted and bewitched people.
A Curious Turn features automata from the leading makers of the last 40 years, ranging from the humorous to the macabre and from the playful to the satirical. We will be previewing 10 objects from this new exhibition at Platform Gallery, Habitat from 15 September - 2 October.
Visitors will be able to turn, push and crank to see many of the pieces in action, while other pieces will have films to show them in motion. Amongst many others some key makers and automata promoters explored in the exhibition are Sam Smith, Paul Spooner, Melanie Tomlinson, Ron Fuller and Sue Jackson.
The full exhibition will soon be going on tour so watch this space!
- Any age
Platform Gallery at Habitat
208 King's Road, Chelsea
44A Pentonville Road
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