ccbc's social enterprise: a summary of essentials
The Craft Council of BC's social enterprise is an integral part of Granville and the city, plays an important role in culture forming in BC, and carries a variety of types of value. This last post of the series look at several 'essentials' of the social enterprise.
Craft carries culture, speaks into realities, produces movements, holds the food we eat, hangs on our walls, and breathes life into our personal and shared living spaces. This final post of the series looks at a loosely definable why, who, and what of the social enterprise – essential elements to the space that are organic, yet have also been fostered by our environment. In light of the organic nature of the essentials, we recognize that the social enterprise has the privilege of being a part of what’s already being done (artists will craft with or without the CCBC) and contributes to the future of craftmaking in BC. The practice of honouring and empowering the craft community is both ancient and contemporary – it is nothing new but continues to be an integral part of our local culture. The CCBC values opportunities that empower the craft community – our social enterprise on Granville Island is just one of those ways to do that.
At the root of the social enterprise is a passion for craft.[i] The draw into making and continuing to make craft is multifaceted. One may begin to craft out of a love for art, as a hobby, or general interest, to overcome PTSD or anxiety, to carry on a legacy, or to meet people in a neighborhood, and so forth. In many cases, one will continue their practice because of a passion or love for the art form. What else would cause one to labour over a design of a ceramic teapot for years they sensed it was just right? This makes up the central ‘why’ in what is currently in our shop – passion.
If the root is a passion for craft, the ‘trees’ are those who make the craft; this passion or love for a particular practice is what can shape a person into the maker that they are. The craft artists are the definite who of the shop – there would be no social enterprise if there were no craft artists. This is a group of people that come from a multitude of backgrounds, vary in age (mid-20s – mid-80s), and are scattered throughout the province. They are craft instructors, retired engineers, art students, hobbyists, and much in between. They see through the gap between what is and what could be and fill it with fiber, clay, metal, or glass; this natural passion and vision benefits all of us as a whole.
The fruit, then, are items that have been made with intent and high-level craftsmanship. They are handmade mugs, glass clocks, fiber wall art, wooden bowls, and skillfully designed jewellery. They are the result of years, sometimes decades, of practice. Often, they are made from the heart of the artist – a testament to their skill, creativity, and commitment to the art form. Ultimately, the items are reflections of our provincial cultural identity, and both participate and inform our local culture (people produce craft which culture then carries/illuminates).
We, as humans, are deeply interconnected whether we see it or not. We can consider the person who sewed the clothes we wear, picked the fruit we eat in the morning, or paves the road to see this truth with greater light. We need each other to function well in society and we all have unique identities and roles to play. When we invest in the craft artists today, it facilitates the growth of the craft artists of tomorrow (as craft artists are often mentored by those before them). The mandate of the Craft Council of BC is to see craft artists thrive in what they are doing: producing craft which informs our local culture. We do this, in part, because we believe that this is deeply valuable to our collective society.
[i] It is worthwhile to note that there would be no social enterprise if we didn’t live in a national, provincial, and local environment that facilitated an active interest and promotion of making art and craft.