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Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Telephone 01 680764
Annual General Meeting
Date Set The craftworker, we are constantly reminded, is an individual, the implication being that of preferring to work in isolation, eschewing "the system" and difficult to involve in cooperative schemes. A lesson in cooperation is shown by the individual craftworkers who make up the Cork Craftsmans Guild and who, from a decision four years ago to cooperate to manage their own shop in Cork city, to create a market there for good craftsmanship which did not depend
on tourists, have moved to a large shop in the newest shopping development in the city. They are deserving of congratulations not merely for showing that such cooperation is possible, but for the confidence they show in their own ability and in the whole future of good craftsmanship. Public appreciation has been proven. The Crafts Council is happy to have been associated with their development from the beginning.
The Annual General Meeting of Crafts Council of Ireland will take place 14 February 1978 at 2.30 pm in Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4. Statutory notices will be posted to representatives of member organisations.
WORLD CRAFTS COUNCIL EUROPEAN ASSEMBLY The Executive Officer of the Crafts Council of Ireland attended this Assembly as the representative of the Council which is affiliated to World Crafts Council. Each year W.C.C. has a meeting of European craft organisations affiliated to it. The business was concerned with drafting a new constitution for World Crafts Council, in particular where this
envisaged more autonomy for the European Assembly which, obviously, has different priorities to other Continental Assemblies or Regions. The Irish representative played a significant role in this. Other business included organisational details of "The Bowl" Exhibition, which has already been announced in the September/October Newsletter, and plans
THE EDITOR WISHES ALL CRAFTWORKERS A HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND ANOTHER PROSPEROUS NEW YEAR
for the General Assembly of W.C.C. to De held in Kyoto next year. In addition to the general business of W.C.C. there was a symposium in the City Hall of Krakow organised by Cepelia, the major Polish Cooperative and hosts to the Assembly, at which papers relating to handcraft and folk art were read by leading figures from Eastern European countries. Visits were made to the Cepelia Headquarters showrooms in Krakow where the products of the various handcraft cooperatives could be examined and further visits were made to handcraft cooperative workshops in Novy Targ and in Zakopane in the Tatra Mountain region which are the centres of the wool industry in Poland and where the cooperation of the artist craftsman and the craft足 worker could be seen in the work being produced. The long Polish tradition of weaving and other handcrafts developed from traditional folk art could be appreciated and it was evident that the good craftsmanship, even under "factory" conditions was something innate and the consequences of our own very broken traditions appreciated.
Craft Design Experience in Poland At a symposium on folk art in Krakow in September, Professor A. Telakowska read a paper to the assembled represent atives of craft organisations from all over Europe on the experience of collaboration between the artist craftsman and the traditional folk craftsman in the creation of new designs. While Professor Telakowska's paper dealt mainly on collaboration towards design which could be used in industrial production, and the artist craftsmen there were working with craftsmen with a long tradition of folk art, some aspects of her paper could be of relevance here. A long paper, the translation of which was in somewhat fractured English, it has had to be severely edited. "We usually talk about folk art in terms of continuity of a culture, but I would rather see it from a futurological point of view — from the future which arises from the process of urbanisation and industrialisation. Consumer culture tends to limit creative ability and in countries industrialised earlier than Poland folk art has almost decayed. There is a reaction to industrialisation in the increase in hobbies and do-it-yourself activity done for the joy of creation, but neither contributes to the continuity of folk art. For societies which have a living folk art there is the problem of its contin uation, and for those which don't, there is that of initiating new forms which can satisfy the creative artistic needs. For many years I was occupied by the problems of the co-existence of folk artists creativity and industrial processing. I feel that we must treat the subject against the model of future culture. Computer and multifunctional machines will take over many human activities, creating more leisure time. Will the large masses of a future society be active or passive, discoverers of their creative ability or merely spectators and listeners? The answers depend on our contemporary attitudes, especially those of trained artist craftsmen and their relationship with the skilled, but untutored traditional craftsmen. Experience and research in Poland since 1965 has been towards merging the talents of non-professionals to achieve products, internationally marketable, based on simple traditional native designs and the inclusion into productive processes from handcraft and half handcraft to the total I mechanised. These experiments used three methods: that of
inspiration, transposition and project teams. Inspiration arises from the understanding of the traditional by a talented artist. Transposition is the use of a traditional method or style in a discipline other than the original. The project teams method, which has been the most valuable and has created some unique works, is that of a talented artist craftsman fading a team of quite unqualified traditional craft workers, or even school-children. From this experience we have found, as suspected, a great reservoir of artistic talents slumbering within many circles in our country, and have proved the possibility for future folk art develop ment arising not only out of the traditional but also in quite new areas leading to design for several forms of production. In these project teams the team leader, the talented artist craftsman, joins talents with the quite different, unqualified ordinary team member, acting, however, like a conductor or director and initiating creative attitudes in the minds of others. We have found also that the team leaders, because of their long professional training have also benefited and these benefits have been apparent when later working in other environ ments not so close to native or country culture. The new designs created both for handcraft and industrial production from the project team method appear characteristically expressive. The experiments undertaken in Poland have been necessary when observing the continuous increase in demand for products for the home and the fact that people should be enabled to have these well designed and full of original expression. The circumstances of demand are all too often exploited by the cynical businessman who sees the need for products with some difference, and our task has been one of taking care of creative folk art and its development and its protection as a national treasure. We believe also that works of good craftsmanship should be judged not by normal measurements but as works of art and valued accordingly, and also that the inclusion of traditional folk art into individual designs must not be exploited into the areas of the pseudo product. We have found that the project team method gives much natural character to the contemporary; we have found
Centuries of Wool -Ireland The Crafts Council Exhibition 'Centuries of Wool - Ireland' mounted to coincide with the ICSID 10 world conference in Dublin in late September was critically very well received. In the three weeks that it was showing in the Bank of Ireland Exhibition Centre, Baggot Street, Dublin it was visited by some 1500 people, including many parties of school children. The texts and photographs which formed the hard core of the exhibition and on which much research and time was directed by the Council, now form part of the archives and even without the back up material from the Museum and from craftsmen, could form an exhibition in its own right.
Tradition "The craftsmen of Germany have an old tradition. Their tradition, however, is not equivalent to the upholding of obsolete practises but rather to the continual application of their long experience to the changing requirements of customers in Germany and beyond its borders. This understanding of tradition requires the upholding of high professional qualifications and the continual improvement of knowledge and abilities. Without comprehensive and up-to-date training methods this would be impossible". Paul Schnitker President, Zetralverbrand des Deutschen Handwerks valuable contributions from non professionals; we have discovered a real background for the further development of folk artist creativity, not only in the traditional sense, but as a basis for industrial production. The method has made possible a union of various values which distinguish completely different persons, varying in educational level and temperament, and in their work in common there occurs a convergence of such marks as maturity and intuition, subtle taste and impetuous expression, modern attitudes and a sentiment for ancient traditions. Finally, the method permits a lot of talented people to participate in the formation of our culture. We must, in the world's society, protect that most essential mark of homo sapiens — the talent for creation".
NCAD This year the National College of Art and Design has instituted a specialised diploma course in crafts. Emphasis will be on training in the mechanics of particular craft disciplines as well as on the business skills required by craftsmen seriously interested in establishing their own small workshops. In a time of economic difficulties, it is forseen that the small employment shop established by designer makers, who have acquired basic business skills, will have the versatility to survive. WEXFORD As one of the many activities centred around Wexford Festival Opera 1977, the Wexford Arts Centre mounted a selling exhibition "Pot-Pourri of Crafts" which was opened by the Executive Officer of Crafts Council on 20 October. WICKLOW At a meeting of craftworkers at the Grand Hotel in Wicklow on 19 October the constitution drafted by a working party set up some months ago was adopted and the Association came formally into being. The officers elected were: Dermot Stokes, Chairman; Tom Broderick, Hon. Secretary; Mrs Pat Molloy, Hon. Treasurer. Formal application has been made to Crafts Council for membership.
CLARE CRAFTWORKERS ASSOCIATION During a recent meeting of the Clare Craftworkers Association in Ennis, the interesting idea of having a permament full-time craft officer for the County was put forward. After prolonged discussion it was felt that until such time as a complete and separate policy was formulated at base, i.e. the Crafts Council of Ireland, IDA, this would be pointless at this time. Such an officer would still have to work under the present unsuitable criteria. These criteria mainly relate to small industry, and because of their many anomalies in relation to craftworkers, have led to long and frustrating delays re grant aid, workshops etc. MANUS WALSH Press Officer NEW SHOP and GALLERY for CORK CRAFTSMANS GUILD The Guild in a.dramatic and confident move have relinquished their small Paul Street premises and moved into the new and exciting Savoy Arcade in Patrick Street, giving them a much enlarged shop at street level and a first floor gallery. This pioneering group of craftsmen and women continue to show confidence not only in their own competence and skill as craftworkers but in that of the many associates whose work over the last few years has complemented them. MAYO Crafts Association Formed
GALWAY Craft Workshop at Oyster Festival The Galway Association of Craftworkers, working with the County Development Team and with the active assistance of Country Markets, organised a workshop in the coach house at Clarenbridge House which created considerable interest and publicity. Crafts from sixteen different disciplines from pottery, spinning and weaving, and enamelling to glass engraving, quilting, crochet lace and musical instruments making were demonstrated by twenty one craftsmen. The success of the workshop idea over that of merely exhibiting crafts has prompted the Association to think bigger for next year and plans will be announced in a future issue of the Newsletter.
The officers of the newly constituted Mayo Craft Association are Wayne Harlow of Westport, Chairman: Phillipa Leonard of Castlebar, Honorary Secretary, and Brian Cooke of Achill, Honorary Treasurer. The Mayo Association took part in an interesting exhibition at the Education Centre, Castlebar, which was primarily concerned with the demonstration of crafts from various disciplines.
GUILD of IRISH LACEMAKERS As reported in the July/August edition a Guild of Irish Lacemakers was inaugurated at the Lace Week at An Grianan. All of the lacemakers attending this course were most enthusiastic about this venture and a steering committee has been formed to formulate policy for the Guild. The aims of the Guild are to preserve what remains of old Irish laces and to develop and promote Irish lace of high quality workmanship. Another aspect is to have readily available information on lace material supplies, patterns and books on lace. There is today a re足 awakened interest in lace all over the world. It is strongly felt that a special guild for Irish lace could help greatly in the development and promotion of this beautiful craft by the pooling of ideas and information. An emblem for the Guild has been decided upon and it is envisaged that the emblem would be available to Guild members whose work was of a high standard. This would be in the form of a label to attach to lace which would be offered for sale. It is hoped that within time this emblem would be recognised as a symbol of high quality in lacemaking. Contact between lacemakers, or indeed any craftsmen, is vitally important. A Guild Newsletter with information on all aspects of lace will be issued four or six times per year. All Irish lacemakers who are interested in the Guild should write to the address given below. There will be a reasonable subscription for membership of the Guild. It would be much appreciated if a stamped addressed envelope was enclosed when writing. Miss Mary Coleman Guild of Irish Lacemakers c/o The General Purposes Committee Office Royal Dublin Society Ballsbridge Dublin 4
DUBLIN EXHIBITION SUCCESS
CENTURIES OF WOOL - IRELAND
Cork Craftsman's Guild potter, Pat Connor had a very successful exhibition of his latest work in the Davis Gallery, Dublin in October and emerges as an artist craftsman of significant stature.
Catalogues of this exhibition are still available at 25p post paid. These are a detailed record of the items in the exhibition, including the photographs, and are a valuable reference work in themselves.
WORLD CRAFTS COUNCIL 8TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY KYOTO - SEPTEMBER 1978 The theme of the Assembly and Conference will be "The Craftsman in Industrialised Society". The International Conference of Craftsmen will be from September 11 to 17 and each day will include one common event without other simultaneous activities. There will be meetings of internationally composed groups for workshops and discussion on special subjects related to the conference theme. In addition private visits have been arranged to many studios around Kyoto not normally open to the public. Any craftsman who may wish to attend the Kyoto General Assembly should contact the Executive Officer of Crafts Council of Ireland for details of costs, membership of delegation and so forth. This should be done before 31 December 1977 as acceptances for attendance at the General Assembly and Conference must be in New York early in January and the numbers from each continental region are listed. SPECIAL CRAFT AWARD Miss Muriel Gahan, founder member and Chairman of Country Markets Ltd. from 1946 to 1975 has been given a special award, donated by the Bank of Ireland in recognition of her life — long efforts through Country Markets Ltd., in the promotion, marketing and develop ment of Ireland's traditional crafts. The presentation was made at Country Markets' "Country Harvest" held in An Foras Taluntais Exhibition Centre at An Grianan, Termonfeckin, Co. Louth earlier this month.
The Crafts Council has sent to all craft workers on file a short questionnaire requesting obvious details such as name and address, also details of the products which they make and the techniques used. Any readers who may have been overlooked or have not received a questionnaire through their guild or association, may not be on file and should send details to the Executive Officer, Crafts Council of Ireland.
National Crafts Trade Fair
CRAFT COURSE OPTIONS OFFERED BY INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATION
Some of the one hundred young people and adults who come to Ireland each year as 'Experimenters' are to be offered arts and crafts course options during 1978.
The Trade Fair, following that of March 1977, will take place in the R.D.S. Industries Hall, 17-19 January 1978, and at the time of going to press a number of stands are still available, but may not be so for long. Applications for space to Executive Officer, Crafts Council of Ireland, Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Dublin 4.
Hot Glass With grant aid from Crafts Advisory Committee, the British National Film School have produced Hot Glass. This film records the exciting demonstration of glass blowing in which internationally famous artist craftsmen showed their different approaches to glass at the conference and workshop organised by the CAC at the Royal College of Art in September 1976. The film is unscripted and unrehearsed and opens at the workshop of Simon Pearce in Bennettsbridge. Simon Pearce and other members of his team work in pairs, blowing jugs and goblets, and show the steady rhythm of repetition work. In the commentary he talks about his workshop and how it is run. This sequence in the 45 minute film helps to familiarise the viewer with the basic stages, tools and vocabulary of glass-blowing.
KDW Opening of Butler House at Kilkenny Design Workshops The Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy, Mr D. O'Malley, T.D. formally opened the Butler House extension at Kilkenny Design Workshops on 24 October. Butler House, which is 18th century and of architectural importance has been renovated to provide modern residential accommodation for staff designers on a rental basis, residential accommodation for graduate Irish designers working on practical assignments and for exchange designers from other countries whose sponsors will provide equal return opportunities for Irish designers. Excellent conference facilities for special project work with industry sectors and areas of the public service are also provided.
The 'Experimenters' are participants in programmes organised by the Experiment in International Living, a world-wide voluntary organisation specialising in inter-cultural education. The programmes are based on a family 'homestay', during which the Experimenter becomes a member of an ordinary family, sharing its activities, concerns, friendships and values. But the homestay is often combined with an organised group activity that can vary from a weekend river cruise to a twomonth university-level study project. In addition to basic courses in Irish studies and English language, visiting students are interested in craftwork, some wanting elementary instruction, some, who have already studied in their own countries, would like comparative studies. During 1977, the Secretariat of the Experiment in Ireland pioneered a weeklong crafts course for a group of young Swiss and French adults at the Glencolumbkille Craft Centre. The Irish Experiment's programme director hopes to offer a wider range of crafts course options during 1978. A number of crafts centres have been approached about the provision of facilities, tutors and materials. The courses, which are scheduled for the period July 24 - August 4 1978, will involve tuition for groups of up to six persons, selected according to ability, and opportunities for independent practise during a five-day programme with a minimum of four hours tuition per day. In arranging the courses, the main concerns are the subject areas to be covered, craftsmen tutors, the possibility of supplementary activities (tours of area, visits to other craftsmen, lectures, other cultural activities), the availability of accommodation locally and the total cost. Craftsworkers who may be interested should contact the Executive Officer, Crafts Council of Ireland.
January/February Issue The closing date for copy will be 14 December. Contributions in the form of news items, letters, calendar of events, are invited.