Monday, 2 June 2008

Growing audiences for craft

As soon As I got back from London, I went to the Birnham Institue near Perth, to attend a day conference on developing audiences for craft. This was organised by The Audience Business who have put some of the information from the meeting on their website under the title Future Focus.

Among the models for developing craft promotion and sales is the one for the fine art market. This relies on scarcity. The scarcity is created by the gallery system of creating an environment where the prospective purchasers buy in or subscribe to the values promoted by the galleries, educationalists and critics. It seems to me that crafts are a bit more democratic than this model. I admit that there is more chaos than system in the current craft market, but it is distinctly different from another proposed model - the antiques market.

The art market may be considered elitist. I don't think I would like to see the craft market move in that direction. But I don't see why a populist art form has to be unorganised. I would like to see some one develop a research project to develop a model for crafts in an electronic age. We do need much more critical writing about craft and more galleries that devote some of their energies toward promoting and selling craft.

Of course, I should admit an interest. I attended this conference both as a maker and in my other guise as chairman of craftscotland. This is currently a web-site devoted to the promotion of quality Scottish craft. It is open to all working in Scotland to become members of this site, and everyone can use it to get information about artists, events, and resources. You can sign up to receive monthly e-mails on current news and developments in craft.

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