ccbc's social enterprise + value
The Craft Council of BC’s (CCBC) social enterprise is a carrier of value, apart from traditional forms of value. In the last article, we talked about the symbiotic and important connection between craft and culture. This article looks at three different ways the social enterprise carries value.
There is inherent value in handmade craft (ceramics, woodwork, beading, glassblowing, etc.) that includes both carrying and informing culture. There are libraries filled with the discussion about how craft provides value to society and cultural health in a variety and changing ways. The Craft Council of BC’s social enterprise is proud to play an integral role in this discussion, in part, by serving as a provincial hub carrying local craft. While the discussion on craft + value is extensive, this blog post will talk about several different types of value that the shop carries, apart from simply being a space to purchase handmade craft.
There is, surprisingly, an ongoing discussion on whether works of craft can be considered fine art or not. The Oxford Dictionary defines fine art as “…creative art, especially visual art whose products are to be appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content…”. Traditionally, items such as paintings and drawings have fallen into this category while master fibre work, woodwork and glassblowing have not received that recognition where heeded. Of course, not all craft is ‘fine art’, just as not all paintings fall under this category. In line with this, all the items in our social enterprise have gone through a juried process that involves master craftspeople of that particular medium reviewing the work before being sold in the space. Our social enterprise is delighted to assert that contemporary craft can fall into the category of fine craft and highlight the recognition owed to artists.
The craft we carry are markers of time, space and culture and open doors to conversations that may be less accessible without the art form. As mentioned previously, an inherent value of craft is the ability to interact in meaningful ways with society and symbiotic ways with culture; the world of craft does not operate inside a vacuum. A stark example of this can be found in the campaigns during the 1990s by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that led to the banning of fur within many fashion brands. Craft and craftsmanship and societal norms go hand in hand, the CCBC’s social enterprise assists in opening eyes to this reality.
The practice of collecting fine art has been around for centuries. The Arts and Craft movement in the mid-19th century saw collectors seeking out and purchasing fine craft and some eventually opening galleries. This art of collecting continues to be important as it can bring recognition to artists, preserves work during perilous times and can often lead to building spaces of cultural influence. This practice continues in both localized and global ways. The CCBC's social enterprise is a space that collectors regularly seek out to purchase fine craft from or to connect directly with the artists we represent.
The subject of value often reverts to economic value but some of the most profound aspects of human life such as connectivity, community, care, and/or identity are tokens of value, yet are difficult to quantify; this includes the (craft) community's postive relationship with culture. We are grateful to push for the understanding that craft can be fine art, shed light on the important discussions craft facilitates and provide a space for collectors to purchase fine craft – all discreet, but important expressions of value.
This blog post is part of a four-part blog series titled ‘Getting to know the CCBC Social Enterprise’.