ccbc’s social enterprise + culture
Humans across borders and languages have engaged with craft to express knowledge, thoughts, truths and ways of life; in essence, culture. A definition of culture is a way of life, especially general customs, values and beliefs of a particular group of people at a particular time. In the last blog post, we looked at some of the mechanics of CCBC’s social enterprise. This blog post looks at some of the roles the social enterprise plays in local and contemporary culture.
Throughout history, craftspeople in our community have created items that speak to our culture, values and traditions - the CCBC’s social enterprise is a space to engage with this in a local and modern way. The space provides a snapshot in time of contemporary craft made almost exclusively by BC artists, contains artwork that contributes to our culture and it shines a spotlight on the value of the craft community and craft in this province, which in turn impacts our local culture.
BC artists + BC craft
The social enterprise shop is a spot in the city where people can interact with the works of over 100 contemporary artists from BC on any given day. The pieces in the space are, by nature, infused with culture: they are made by artists who carry and express their culture through their art. Each person has distinct and intersecting cultures; the connecting baseline is the fact that almost all the work is made by contemporary artists in BC.
This means that one may get a glimpse of contemporary craft through the lens of artists in this province in our present time, whether that is through materials used, designs, or artist statements. The porcelain vases, the glass clocks, wet felted scarves or embroidered wall artworks are a result of someone’s intent - a design, a creative initiative, a need or a memory that was transformed into something physical. Craft speaks to values that can be felt in the sanded wood, cross stitching or specific soldering technique. These values inform culture, and our social enterprise participates in sharing them, in part, through supporting the craft community. These values include community building and mentorship, knowledge sharing on processes and materials, local traditions and heritage transmission.
The social enterprise has its roots in understanding that by supporting our local craft community, we are affirming that craft is valuable to society and our cultural health. Craftspeople and craft have long played an essential role in the building up and into both society and culture. Craft communities have produced pottery, glass work, beadwork, metal work and fibre art for centuries. This work has become a visual representation of a particular time, community or way of life. We look to the artifacts of a civilization to understand how people lived or what they may have valued. It has been used to preserve identities, express ideas, maintain or break traditions, build community and strengthen local economies. We, as a people, have come to understand history, each other, and sometimes even ourselves through craft. Cultural exchanges to this day usually involve the exchange of a craft item infused with localized meaning. The value of craft to culture has always been significant and they continues to work in symbiotic ways.
The social enterprise provides a space for the general public to engage with items that are culturally relevant. Collectively, we participate in a contemporary yet transcendent sentiment of valuing local craft and craftspeople. In doing so, we strengthen the identity of this sector and our collective community, contributing to culture making.
This blog post is part of a four-part blog series titled ‘Getting to know the CCBC Social Enterprise’.