Fiona Logue: The world wants our crafts

Craft Scotland Artists at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore this year. Picture: Colin Hattersley
Craft Scotland Artists at the American Craft Council Show in Baltimore this year. Picture: Colin Hattersley
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Craft plays a vital role in Scottish society. In ­Scotland today there are more than 3,500 skilled craftsmen and women who create phenomenal ceramics, textiles, furniture, jewellery, glass, furniture and much more.

It contributes socially through stimulating well being and it ­creates a sense of achievement in participants at all levels. It is at the intersection where creativity, materials, innovation and design come together to create unique pieces.

Scotland has a strong international reputation for craft, from Tokyo to New York influential buyers and customers delight in our designs and ingenuity. This is why craft is a key contributor to the creative industries – widely acknowledged as a cornerstone of the Scottish economy.

The challenge for Scotland is turning this global popularity into a sustainable industry.

As the national development agency for craft in Scotland, our focus is on developing makers’ creative and business practice. We put makers at the heart of everything we do, developing an ambitious programme of events and exhibitions that focuses on raising the profile of Scottish craft.

As with any creative discipline, success for Scotland’s makers depends on a number of ­factors; support in their practice to develop skills and learn from masters of their craft, business support to help them maximise their talents and, vitally, access to key markets.

At Craft Scotland we ­support these areas with a focus on ­continuing to build the profile of Scottish craft within the UK. Our recent State of the Sector report shows that despite difficult ­economic times, makers are still optimistic about the future.

They view London as a key market due to its popularity as a design destination for both trade and end-consumers alike. VisitBritain forecasts that London will receive 38.1 million visits from international travellers in 2017 alone. The London market is not yet fully aware of the excellence of craft and design in Scotland and there are opportunities for our makers to explore.

Presenting Scottish craft at prestigious events creates opportunities for makers to make key commercial contacts with important architects, interior designers and trade buyers. We are looking to maximise our impact on this key market by developing opportunities and relationships. In the long term, Craft Scotland want to raise the national profile for excellence and diversity of practice in contemporary craft.

Drawing from its rich heritage, Scotland cultivates a pioneering spirit within its makers and encourages each one to develop a strong, unique voice. This week Craft Scotland showcased two of these voices at The Caledonian Club for London Craft Week. Visitors are receiving a real insight into the processes of two master makers at work. Jennifer Gray and Angus Ross reflect the diversity of contemporary craft in Scotland and how traditional practice has been adopted in new and imaginative ways.

For Angus and Jennifer it’s an opportunity to engage with a new audience, for craft in Scotland it’s a first step towards building an even bigger international audience.

Fiona Logue is CEO of Craft Scotland.