CRAFTS COUNCII OF IRELAND.. Thomas Prior House, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 Telephone 01 680764
CRAFTS SURVEY Christmas Crafts CONFERENCE Promotion Without facts it is difficult to argue the craftsman's case with any conviction. It is difficult to show as simple a thing as growth and therefore the importance of the sector without basic facts such as the value of crafts being produced. Equally difficult to assess is the potential, and thus the likely returns in terms of, say, employment for an investment which may be made officially. ^\ postal survey will be made. The questionnaire is a simple one and it is to be hoped that every craftsman and woman earning their living through their craft skills will complete it.
Absolute confidentiality will be maintained and while there may be reluctance to disclose certain information, Crafts Council is most anxious on behalf of every craftsman that the survey be as complete as possible, for with only a small percentage of replies the information gained will be of little value. It is in the craftsman's interest. A worthwhile report will depend on them.
Irish Theme in Washington Textile Museum The Photographic Section of the Crafts Council 1977 exhibition "CENTURIES OF WOOL â€” IRELAND", some 60 large prints with graphics, has been loaned to the Washington D.C. Textile Museum where it is part of the cultural attractions connected with the CTT/ Julius Garfinkel Inc. store promotion of Irish goods. The exhibition has been mounted interspersed with examples of woollen textiles.
At the time of going to press, most craftsmen will have had details of the Conference in Wexford in November.
Crafts Council will this Christmas be undertaking a special promotion of crafts and craft shops to help to stimulate the home market shopper to think in terms of handcraft as presents. The theme is "Pick a Perfect Present Irish made Handcrafts". Merely to encourage the purchase of handcrafts this Christmas without helping the buying public to find them would, it was felt, be insufficient, so every craft shop or store selling handcraft will be issued with a window sticker identifying it as a source of Irish made handcraft. This attractive sign carries the message "Irish Handcraft Sold Here". The same theme is also produced as a point of sale tent card which can be used in the shop at the place where crafts are promoted, or where a special display is put on.
The main theme of "Pick a Perfect Present" is carried on posters which are in two sizes and which can be used as window bills in conjunction with the identification symbol, as well as inside the store to carry the message strongly to the shopper.
For the craftsmen it is important to ensure that retailers have their products prominently displayed, and for the retailer important that they are not only well stocked to make the most of this promotion, but make a strong impact by using the material and the goods to their best advantage.
Speakers will include Mr Victor Margrie, Chief Executive of the U.K. Crafts Advisory Committee, a craftsman who has done a great deal for the crafts in the U.K.; Ms. Kerstin Wickman, the Editor of the Swedish design magazine, Form, and a sensitive judge of the present state of the craftsman and his objectives, not only in Sweden, but elsewhere; Mr Aneuran Thomas, Director of the Welsh Arts Council, and also responsible for crafts in Wales and not unfamiliar with the problems there and here; Ms. Sally Smith of the Scottish DevelopÂ ment Agency, equivalent to the IDA Small Industries Division and someone who is close to the whole question of marketing crafts; Mr Niall Montgomery, the noted Irish architect whose contribution will undoubtedly stimulate thought. Subsidiary speakers will include both craftsmen and others involved in the craft sector who will enunciate sometimes opposing views, but in all giving food for
It is at the point of deliberation that the attending craftsmen will be able to make their own contribution, for this is what this Conference is about. The key speakers in effect will state a position and stimulate thought, but it is those who participate who can direct the Conference towards the ends which they themselves can best see as not only protecting, but enhancing their future as craftsmen. They will be listened to for it is their Conference.
AOTOXQIl A T O M ®M& © T O M ) M E W i MEATH CRAFTWORKERS The Meath Craftworkers Association which now numbers 40 members, hopes to mount a retail sales fair during the Christmas buying period. This will be in Navan but the venue has not yet been finalised. The best of members' works will be on sale and the success of this sort of venture may lead to consideration of some more permanent activity to ensure an outlet for members' work, particularly those with relatively small production.
MAYO CRAFTWORKERS Evelyn Lyndsay of the NCAD gave an illustrated lecture to about 20 members of Mayo Craftworkers Association in Castlebar on September 15th. She covered such topics as tapestry, spinning and weaving and reports that her audiences were most enthusiastic. Her invitation may well be a headline for other Associations to follow with authorities in other disciplines.
WEXFORD CRAFT WORKERS HOLD IMPSUB WORKSHOP Wexford Craftworkers Association in co-operation with the Junior Chamber of Commerce organised a successful workshop with a dozen craftworker members. The theme was one of import substitution aimed at encouraging the public to appreciate local skills and original products. The co-operation between the Wexford Craft workers Association and the Junior Chamber has also resulted in the publication of a printed handout for tourists informing them about local craftsmen, what they produce and where they may be found. Crafts Council of Ireland carried these at their Stand at the R.D.S. Horse Show in August. Arising from these new initiatives there is talk of forming a co-operative of craftworkers in the area. Craftworkers taking part in the workshop included Pat Dolan, silversmith; Peter Clarke, coppersmith; Willie Stedmond, woodturner; Mai Bradshaw, Aran knitter; Bill Godkin, potter; Lizabeth Fonkert, tapestry and weaving; Rosemary Freaney, soft toys and Billy Gibbons, saddler.
CORK CERAMIC SCULPTOR GIVES KYOTO WORKSHOP NORTH TIPPERARY ASSOCIATION FORMED Arising out of an inaugural meeting of over 100 local craftsmen, both professional, part-time and hobbyists, held in Nenagh in June, a North Tipperary Craftworkers Association has now been formed and will seek affiliation with Crafts Council. Mr Peter Hogan, the County Development Officer is acting as Honorary Secretary of the new Association.
NCAD STUDENTS WIN AWARDS Deirdre Mooney, (Woven length), Catherine O'Neill (Handspun, handwoven linen) and Jacqueline Corbiere (Tapestry) all won second prizes in their classes in this years' R.D.S. National Crafts Competition
Pat Connor, the County Cork based ceramic sculptor and potter, accepted the invitation of World Crafts Council to participate in a ceramic workshop at the World Crafts Council's General Assembly in Kyoto, Japan, expected to draw almost 2,000 craftsmen from the five continents. A number of craft workshops are being given as part of the ten day gathering and one of the ceramic workshops at which Pat Connor is taking the main part, concerns ceramic sculpture at which he and others will exchange experiences and techniques. Japan, being the cradle of ceramics, is a fitting place for such a meeting of potters and undoubtedly those involved will come away enriched. It is hoped that the next issue of the Newsletter will carry an article by Pat Connor which should be of interest to potters here in Ireland.
CRAGGAUNOWEN MUSEUM It will be of interest to craftsmen who may visit the Hunt collection at the Craggaunowen Museum at the NIHE at Plassey House, Limerick, that the fragment of the Beaufort tapestry (of which this is one of the ten surviving pieces) was restored for the Hunts with the help of weaver Evelyn Lyndsay of the National College of Art. The fragments are the only pieces of armorial tapestry to have survived from a period prior to 1400. The delicate work and care needed in the restoration can be imagined.
Dear Editor The Craft Hunter's Pocket Guide is now in circulation and is available in Tourist Offices and in some retail outlets who requested it for sale. I would like to thank the craftworkers and retailers for the marvellous response to the questionnaire I enclosed in each copy. I had an 80% return with many interesting suggestions for the 1979 edition. This will make it so much easier for me to produce the guide earlier next year, as I will have most of the information needed in advance. If anyone would like to send in slides of their products, workshop, or shop, I (and the designers) would be pleased to consider them for next year's publication. Slides and additional information must reach me by October 30th. I would like to thank the Crafts Council for their kind co-operation and to congratulate the craftsmen and retailers on answering me so quickly. Yours sincerely,
Blanaid Reddin Retail Advisory Officer Bord Failte
3rd. NATIONAL CRAFTS TRADE FAIR The Third National Crafts Trade Fair will be held in the RDS Industries Hall on the week commencing 15th January 1979. Details will be available to craftsmen in September. The 1978 Fair generated some ÂŁ200,000 of business for participating craftsmen and craft industries and next year's fair, with more space available, will be aiming for a much bigger target. While priority will be given, as usual, to craftsmen, those who can only produce small quantities and who may not be able to meet the strict delivery requirements should seriously consider whether their place is not more correctly in a regional rather than a national fair.
Royal Dublin Society Crafts Exhibition In recent years the Royal Dublin Society's Arts and Crafts Stand has become one of the major attractions at the Dublin Horse Show. This year's show will take place from Tuesday 8th to Saturday 12th August inclusive and the Arts and Crafts Exhibition will be open from 9 a.m. unitl 6.30 p.m. each day. As approximately 140,000 people from at home and abroad attend the Horse Show each year, this exhibition is an excellent shop window for Irish craftworkers. Many items are sold and numerous commissions are negotiated. Prize-winning works and other items of a high standard from the competition will be on display and throughout the week demonstrations in Glass Blowing, Rod Basket Work, Fabric Printing and Silversmithing will be given on the Stand. The twice daily fashion show, which was so successful in 1977, will be reoeated again this year. Items worn in ihe fashion show will be selected from the work of prize-winners from the Society's Crafts Competition past and present.
Three bowls. Lathe turned bleached elm. Maria Van Kesteren, Holland.
Bowl. Porcelain with cobalt stripes, slab built. Elizabeth Schaffer, West Germany.
From "The Bowl" Exhibition, Malmo, Sweden.
UNESCO Category A.
"The Bowl" for Norway
It has recently been learned that the World Crafts Council which is a nongovernmental organisation affiliated with UNESCO has been granted Category A status by that organisation. W.C.C. has long sought Category A status which will, hopefully, now lead to its being able to achieve some of the plans which could not be promoted due to lack of finance.
The European exhibition "The Bowl" which has four Irish exhibits, will now move to Lillehammar in Norway for the rest of the summer and is expected to be housed in Helsinki towards the end of the year and in Poland in the new year. Plans for other European countries to mount the exhibition are in train, but no definite decisions have yet been reached. It is likely, however, that Austria, France and Italy will be venues.
Slide Library The slide kits now available include: Harold Haughan - Australian master potter (24). Ann Greenwood - Fibre exhibition "Woman" (45). Ray Norman - Stone cutting and setting (44). Kayes Van Bodegraven - Hand made paper (27) Ruth Nivola - Jewellery in thread (US) (27). Wall Hangings - The new Classicism (US) (25). The Metal Smith - Society of U.S. Goldsmiths (79) Young Americans - Fibre, wood, plastic, leather (95). Sam Herman - Master glass blower (30). Miniatures in Fibre - Works by major craftsmen (26). Calligraphy - U.K. Contemporary (18). Early Musical Instruments — U.K. Contemporary (19). Weaving - U.K. Contemporary (18). Tie-Dyed Warps and Rag Rugs — Australia (35). Starting and Finishing Rugs — Australia (42).
Calendar of Events
Initiative Project Scheme
The Newsletter will in future carry a calendar of forthcoming events in the crafts world. These will include exhibitions, fairs, conferences and workshops.
The scheme, which was first announced in April of last year, is still available to craftsmen and crafts organisations.
In order to have these events included in the Newsletter calendar every two months, details should be with the Editor at least two months in advance of the date of the event. National Crafts Competition Award Winners Exhibition, RDS, Dublin - August 8th-12th. Artist Craftsman Exhibition, Lavitts Quay Gallery, Cork — August 8th-19th. Ceramic Sculptures, Pablo Rueda Lava Thosel, Kilkenny — august 26th— September 3rd. Crafts Potters Society of Ireland Bank of Ireland Exhibition Hall - 13th— 25th September. Conference. The Future of Crafts — Ireland, Wexford - November 11th—12th.
While the amount of money which can be given as exgratia payments of this sort is small, the Council not being a grant giving organisation, the fact is that the projects which might be helped would be those which could not in many cases get any funds at a stage when even a small amount could enable them to get going. Initiative projects may include those which can lead to the creation of a viable opening for employment; aim at the revival of an old craft with potential for commercial development; create interest in crafts in production terms in an area not previously experienced in crafts; conserve worthwhile knowledge of crafts or craft methods unique to the country; offer groups of craftworkers exposure to outside innovative influence for the overall good of the craft community; be a project for new thinking in relation to crafts which can benefit craftworkers generally; and new developments in the field of education in craft whether at student or public level.
The conditions are not onerous. Applications should arrive at the Crafts Council at least two weeks before the date for which slide kits are required. Slides must be returned either personally or by registered post and in the original postal container. Slides must be returned punctually on or before the date they are due back. Slides must not be projected for more than 60 seconds at a time. Borrowers must pay the cost of replacing any slides lost or damaged while in their care. All slides are copyright and must not be copied or reproduced in any form. Hiring charges will be as follows: 0 - 30 slides up to 60 slides up to 100 slides
£1.00 £1.50 £2.00
Student Craft Design Wins Award At the 1979 CTT Design Scholarship Awards presentation two young student designers won awards worth respectively £1,000 and £700 to be used for further study. The set project was to design an award to be made bi-annually in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the improvement in standard of design in Ireland, and the design was to be three dimensional in a simple material or combination of materials. Lisa Young of Celbridge and Valerie Syms of Dublin were the recipients from the Minister of State at the Department of Industry, Commerce and Energy, Mr Raphael Burke, T.D., at a reception at the Kilkenny Exhibition Centre in Dublin last month.
Lisa Young, who will undertake a study trip to southern Europe, has been aided in planning her itinerary by Crafts Council of Ireland through close contacts with corresponding organisations in Greece and Yugoslavia.
RTE Craft Series Shown on UTV The T.V. series "Hands", made by David Shaw Smith and which many of our readers will have seen has already been taken by U.T.V. and the initial screening was on July 2nd. Undoubtedly other countries will be looking it over and this sort of success augurs well for the next series.
R.D.S. Crafts Competition Winners The following are among those who were winners of first prize awards at the R.D.S. National Crafts Competition 1978: California Gold Medal: Alice Roden, Junko Okamura Crafts Council Silver Medal: Nicholas Mosse Decorative Ceramics: Chris Kelly Gold and Silver: Desmond A. Byrne Jewellery: Desmond A. Byrne, Brian Gleeson Musical Instruments: W. D. Patterson Rush Work: Mary Landy Leather: Brendan Brennan Enamels: Ann Marie Murphy Knee Rugs: Muriel Beckett Tapestry: Jill Bright Batik: Matt O'Connell Lace: Marie Cullen Decorative Embroidery: Anne Marie Graham.
Portmanteau. Leather. Carmen and Edmond Chesneau
Potter Wins Crafts Council Medal The Crafts Council Silver Medal for work of outstanding merit was this year awarded by the R.D.S. Jury to Nicholas Mosse, the Bennettsbridge potter at the National Crafts Competition Award giving reception. Nicholas Mosse was a winner of the Coras Trachtala Design Scholarship award some years ago and since setting up his studio his distinctive work is in demand by leading craftshops.
Craft Council Silver Medal winning ceramics Nicholas Mosse
Exhibition Guide Booklet in Preparation Artist Craftsmen in Washington Store. Alice Roden, Helena Ruuth, Karen Hay Eadie, Muriel Beckett, Patrick O'Hara and Trevor Power are among the Irish craftsmen whose work is currently in an exhibition in the Julius Garfinkel Store in Washington D.C. and is a result of co-operation between Craft Council and Coras Trachtala.
Crafts Council is preparing a simple short illustrated guide to better exhibitions and displays using locally obtained and inexpensive materials. Many good intentions and indeed good products are often lost in a poorly contrived exhibition which does not either follow the basic principles of good display or of selling. Details will be announced to all member organisations.
UK Craft Heads Visit Ireland Sandy MacKilligan, Chairman of the Federation of British Craft Societies and Faith Shannon, acting-Chairman of the British Crafts Centre, visited Crafts Council of Ireland recently for mutual discussions. They subsequently travelled to Kilkenny to visit the Design Workshops and also saw the Cork Craftsmens Guild Shop in Cork while here. Sandy MacKilligan is a noted craftsman in furniture. Faith Shannon is one of the major artist bookbinders and it is hoped that an initiative in bookbinding may result from her visit.
LETTERS I refer to Brian Mooney's article, "Naming Your Price" in the last issue of your Newsletter. Without knowing Brian Mooney, one might be forgiven for thinking that he has been unduly influenced by the policies of some larger Irish retail outlets, and I feel obliged to present some alternatives to his published philosophy on craftwork. He asserts that true craftsmanship is marked by repetitiveness and function ality. In terms of pottery (my craft), these attributes are found in all good mass produced ware. I expect the same is true of many other crafts. Craftworkers who follow such a marketing dictum as this are, I would suggest, on the road to difficulties. In fairness to Mr Mooney he does go on to admit that machines are capable of this function, but if we go further it must follow that the craftworker who turns himself into a machine will undoubtedly be undersold and over-produced at some stage: by a mechanised version of himself! The crystal and furniture projects that he cites are possibly (I do not know them personally), excellent examples of mechanised craftsmanship. This is not to detract from their success but they require a different marketing concept from that of the individual craftsman working alone. He lists as dangers confronting the craft industry two points: — 1) That the part-time collective craft worker should not be worth as much per unit produced as a full-time worker. Why not Mr Mooney? Assuming equal standards the labourer should be worthy of his time. The part-time worker who fails to obtain a satisfactory hourly return will certainly have less interest in standards than the worker who can afford to take time to do the job properly. Failure to obtain a satisfactory rate means in effect that regular employment is being used to subsidise the part-time effort. This can only be done at the cost of the full-time craftworker. 2) That the whole time individual craftworker seeks a return equal to that of an artist.
If he is not only to survive but to improve his standards he certainly needs to be an artist. He also needs to know his market, be a commercial designer, a practical businessman, and, oh yes, a craftsman too. Anyone who actually has a combination of these talents will certainly expect to earn a satisfactory wage. In industry he is a valuable man; on his own he might settle for less but will hardly be satisfied with living on the edge of survival: the lot of the average artist. Mr Mooney raises his eyebrows at current retail prices. This suggests that he too had heard unfavourable comment on this score from visitors. In the pottery sector our prices for equivalent ware are higher than in U.K. This is as it should be. Mot only do we have a higher cost of iving and higher plant investment costs, but most of our equipment and raw materials have to be imported, often in comparatively small quantities at very much higher delivered prices.
Lastly, perhaps Mr Mooney would like to rethink his position in regard to basic craft marketing. .Standards improve, given conditions which are creatively competitive rather than merely price conscious. They improve given the challenge for some thing new, something better. The supposedly design conscious retail outlet that insists on ordering identical items from a catalogue is promoting growth markets for industrial goods not craft work. Repetitive work, although necessary in part, is not of itself creative, while non-creative effort rarely improves standards. If the Crafts Council of Ireland is to promote mechanised semi-craft industry rather than craftworkers as such, and encourage cheaper, repetitive craftwork, it may well lead to a lowering, rather than an improvement of standards. Then we would again have to rely upon imported goods or imported craftsmen.
I would suggest too, that in many cases high retail prices and shoddy goods are the fault, in part at least, of the retailer. Retail margins in the pottery market at least vary from 70% of 150% or more, onto the buying price. Additionally, some outlets are capable of selling seconds as firsts, of very bad stockkeeping and display, and being extremely reluctant to meet their financial commitments.
Previous experience of these imports has been unsatisfactory. Visitors want Irish crafts that have been made in Ireland, leading to a second best situation. The same is often true of imported craftsmen. The best rarely come, they have no need to change locations because they can cope with the competitive situation where they are, indeed their creativity leads their competition.
Thankgoodness for the small speciality craftshop. The best of these regard themselves as an extension of the team effort of the craftworkers who supply them. They provide a constant source of market information, collect their orders, pay for them, promptly and otherwise look after their supplier's interests as well as their own. Their example could well be followed by some of the larger outlets who are often the worst offenders in their dealings with craftworkers.
A good business relationship is one that is to the mutual advantage of both craft worker and retailer. The absence of a real craftwork selection from some stores is a testimony to their one-sided approach, with demands for ware adorned with shamrocks and similar embellishments. Their late orders for immediate delivery of hundreds of repetitive pieces demon strate a complete irnorance of true craftwork, together with the needs and potential of the craftworker.
Calendar of Events Kerry Craftworkers Association Annual Exhibition Siamsa Tire Theatre, Tralee November 30th—December 10th.
The main theme of "Pick a Perfect Present" is carried on posters which are in two sizes and which can be used as window bills in conjunction...