The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum “Etar” is a living museum near Gabrovo, Bulgaria that preserves and represents the architecture, the economic wealth and the way of life in the Central Balkan Range during the late 18th and 19th centuries. Situated on a river, it features original water-powered installations such as a saw-mill, wooden lathes, a fulling-mill and a braid-knitting workshop. Visitors can enjoy traditional living interiors and real artisans’ workshops where skilled masters use traditional techniques and tools to make pottery and cutlery, carve wood, paint icons, weave, and prepare furs. Along with its many activities and training programmes, Etar hosts the International Fair of Traditional Crafts, where artisans from Bulgaria and abroad present their handmade articles and exchange ideas.
The Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague collects and preserves national and international examples of historical and contemporary crafts, as well as applied arts and design. Through a belief in the harmony between function, quality, and beauty, it aims to inspire, educate and entertain in a unique way. Founded in 1885, the museum’s collections include glass, ceramics and porcelain; graphic arts and photography; furniture and metal works; and textiles, fashion and toys. The museum’s recent publications include an examination of fashion behind the Iron Curtain and a profile of glass artist Vaclav Cigler, and “Design in the Czech Lands 1900–2000. Institutions of Modern Design
The Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design (AAAD) counts among its graduates and staff members some of the most prominent and influential artists in the Czech Republic. Formally constituted in 1946, the Academy was formed on the well-established School of Decorative Arts, and has won a number of prestigious awards. Since 1989 it has been operating in a structure which allows it to collaborate on important international projects, enrich its curriculum in additional fine and applied arts disciplines, and undertake the publication of books on art as well as the organization of educational exhibitions. Today, the prestigious AAAD offers university education in architecture, design, fine arts, applied arts, graphics, and theory and history of art.
Danish Crafts & Design (DKoD) is an association of some 500 professional designers and craftspeople in Denmark which supports high-quality practice, collaboration and networking. It hosts the Biennale for Crafts & Design, an exhibition and award competition, an annual crafts fair, as well as exhibits and artist talks at its gallery space, Officinet, in Copenhagen. DKoD advances members’ interests in matters of trade and professional development and coordinates their participation in exhibitions and competitions in Denmark and abroad.”
The World Crafts Council – Europe promotes European design-led crafts and applied arts of the highest quality. It seeks to strengthen the status of crafts as a vital part of cultural and economic life and to build up an international network of professional craft organisations and makers across Europe. It also represents crafts at official, political, and administrative levels and joins international cooperation programmes of importance to the crafts sector. WCC–Europe is one of the five regional branches of the World Crafts Council, an international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded in 1964 and recognised by UNESCO.
Ateliers d’Art de France represents more than 6,000 artisans, artists and craft companies. Its objectives are to promote, support and safeguard the economic development of craft professionals. It seeks to enhance the international and national reputation of the craft sector through high-profile activities that include hosting and supporting craft fairs such as Maison&Objet, Ob’Art, the International Heritage Fair and Révélations at the Grand Palais. In addition to offering its members a range of support services, the Ateliers d’Art showcases their work at four venues in Paris. There visitors can discover the craft professions through demonstrations of know-how and themed exhibits as well as view and purchase contemporary decorative arts.
Chambre de Métiers et de l’Artisanat de Paris is a public administrative organisation that assists various players in the craft industry, including apprentices, craftspeople, and future buyers. Its mission is to represent, promote, and defend the interests of the 47.000 Parisian artisans and to promote the development of Parisian craft companies. CMAP supports and assists craftspeople in every stage of their professional life from apprenticeship to business creation, training, economic development, and business succession. Its location in the heart of Paris, a major hub of artisanal activity, ensures that its doors are open to a critical mass of Parisian craftspeople looking for administrative, logistical, and legal support.
Bettencourt Schueller Foundation is a French entity that focuses on contributing to the common good via three main fields of engagement: life sciences, the arts and inclusive society. Its visionary work in the area of crafts recognizes talent and promotes excellence throughout France. Notably, since 1999, it has awarded the Liliane Bettencourt Prize for the Intelligence of the Hand for exceptional talent, creativity and innovation in craftsmanship.
The Institut National des Métiers d’Art (INMA) is the French state operator that promotes the growth of the crafts industry. It brings together public and private stakeholders and develops its expertise to anticipate the future and support the development of the crafts sector. It supports the transmission of know-how to the next generation and recognises emerging talent through its Prix Avenir Métiers d’Art (Future of Crafts Prize). It runs European Artistic Crafts Days (EACD), an international series of events to promote crafts.
Les Arts Décoratifs is a private not-for-profit organization that develops links between industry and culture, design and production, and provides art education and professional training. Its Museum of Decorative Arts and extensive library collection are housed at the Palais du Louvre. It also runs the Musée Nissim de Camondo, an early 20th century private home, and the Ecole Camondo, a school of design and interior architecture. Its Ateliers du Carrousel offer a range of workshops to aspiring artisans, adults, and children.
The Berlin Chamber of crafts is a professional association that serves craftspeople in Berlin, Germany. Its more than 30,000 members – who together employ some 180,000 people – can draw on a range of supports, from education and training at its two educational centers to counseling on business start-ups and operations as well as technical, financial and legal issues. The chamber also hosts fairs and craft exhibitions and represents craftspeople in public and politics.
B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts and Music aims to encourage the public to enter into a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary dialogue with music and the visual arts. It promotes the work of Greek artists at home and abroad, with support for networking, and maintains a directory of artisans. The foundation sponsors educational and academic research, and its cultural centre in the heart of Athens hosts exhibitions, concerts, lectures and educational activities as well as a café and art shop.
The Association of Hungarian Folk Artists (AHFA/NESZ) is a non-governmental organisation which brings together over 50 folk associations, craft workshops, and art houses from across Hungary. For more than three decades it has worked with its members and partners to preserve and promote the country’s diverse heritage crafts. The association’s youth training programmes aim to inspire the next generation in the art and business of crafts, and its annual Festival of Folk Arts at Buda Castle showcases the work of the masters, drawing some 70,000 people.
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI) is the main champion of the design and craft industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI provides a range of programmes, supports and services for craftspeople, learners and teachers, retailers and gallerists, shoppers and collectors, media and partner organisations. DCCoI’s activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has 64 member organisations and over 3,200 registered clients.
FAI – Fondo Ambiente Italiano (the National Trust for Italy) is a non-profit foundation that operates thanks to the support of individuals, companies and institutions. Founded in 1975, FAI is a member of the International National Trusts Organisation (INTO). The trust’s mission is to take care of, promote and safeguard special places in Italy for the benefit of current and future generations. It acquires its assets through gifts, donations and bequests. Today, the trust has 56 sites under its care, which are open to the public to enjoy, appreciate and use.
The Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art is a private nonprofit organisation founded by Franco Cologni in Milan in 1995, to bring about a ‘new renaissance’ and to secure a strong future for the métiers d’art. The foundation supports and carries out a number of cultural, scientific and educational programmes, including an important collection of publications related to craftsmanship, an innovative apprenticeship scheme, and a brand new title to recognize and celebrate master artisans.
The Giorgio Cini Foundation is a nonprofit cultural institution and humanistic and educational resource located on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. It supports research and houses substantial collections from such fields as the visual arts, music, drama, literature, and the history of the Venetian State. It mounts exhibits and hosts conferences and events related to its own institutes and also welcomes events sponsored by other cultural and scientific organisations. The foundation also houses the Stanza del Vetro, a space dedicated to the very finest glasswork from around the world.
The Triennale di Milano is an international institution, design museum and theatre that organizes conferences, exhibitions and shows about the arts, design, architecture, fashion and cinema. Since its founding in 1923, it has been an icon of cultural and economic life, serving as an engine of international dialogue between society, the arts and industry. The 1933 edition of the Triennale, its preeminent international exhibition, was the first expo recognised by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE).
Founded in 1919, the Art Academy of Latvia is recognized for its modern approach to academic education, openness to topical art processes and activities, cooperation between students and professors, and the high-level performance of its students. It offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in more than 15 departments in visuals arts, design, plastic arts, history and theory of art, and audio-visual art. All students study traditional art techniques, specialize in the application of traditional and untraditional materials, develop creative skills with the use of modern media and gain experience in implementing art projects. The Academy enrols some 700 students each year.
Originally founded in 1933, the Museum is one of the country’s oldest and leading public institutions of its kind. It is distinguished for its rich fine arts collection which includes some 230,000 exhibit items including old and contemporary master paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, applied art and folk art, as well as rare amber stone and jewelry. In addition, the Lithuanian Art Museum is renowned for its Pranas Gudynas Restoration Centre. Furthermore, the Museum organizes 70 to 80 exhibitions each year, including cultural and educational events which promote cultural identity and a sense of European citizenship.
The Vilnius Academy of Arts was established in 1793 and is the oldest and largest university for the arts in the Baltic region. The Academy is a member of international networks and associations of European higher education institutions of art and design and its students, which numbers more than 1,800, are matriculated in four different Lithuanian cities: Vilnius, Kaunas, Telšiai and Klaipėda. The academy offers a number of specialized courses including painting, culture management, glass art, solid craft competences, and artistic tendencies. Since 1990, nearly 100 of the academy’s alumni have been awarded National Art Awards.
Crafts Council Nederland (CCNL) is a multi-varied platform for contemporary craft where art, fashion, design and heritage all unite and where craftsmanship is nurtured and passed on to a new generation. As a key unifier, concept developer and initiator, Crafts Council Nederland is building an infrastructure to help preserve and encourage intangible heritage and to make crafts techniques future-proof. CCNL’s online Craftsmap presents the country’s top craftsmen, craft education, craft unions and museums. Its sponsors include the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and Creative Industries Fund NL, and it is an affiliate of the World Crafts Council.“
Europa Nostra is committed to safeguarding and promoting Europe’s cultural and natural heritage through its European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Awards which celebrate excellence and dedication by architects, craftsmen, volunteers, schools, local communities, heritage owners and media. Europa Nostra also campaigns to save Europe’s most endangered sites through its “7 Most Endangered” programme. Europa Nostra views cultural heritage as a key asset to Europe’s society and economy, and contributes to the formulation and implementation of policies related to heritage through dialogue with European institutions. Located at The Hague, with an office in Brussels, it has a pan-European network of members, public stakeholders, private companies and individuals and is presided over by Maestro Plácido Domingo.
Founded by the Norwegian Association of Arts and Crafts in 2012, Norwegian Crafts is an organization that carries out international crafts projects. It. The organization aims to strengthen the position of contemporary crafts through exhibitions, market development, publications, seminars, and network and exchange programs. In order to fulfill its objectives, Norwegian Crafts collaborates nationally and internationally with renowned museums, educational institutions, and other visual arts and design professionals.
The Ricardo do Espirito Santo Silva Foundation (FRESS) protects and promotes Portuguese decorative arts and handicrafts related to them. The foundation’s Museum of Portuguese Decorative Arts houses an extensive artistic collection from the 15th to 19th centuries as well as 18 workshops where master craftsmen apply traditional methods and transmit them to future generations. FRESS also carries out its education mission through its School of Decorative Arts and the Training Center in Arts and Crafts. Its conservation team restores works of art such as paintings, furniture and interior historic buildings, decorative tiles, ceilings and murals at historical sites across the country.
The Romanian National Heritage Trust aims to save, preserve and restore the architectural and cultural heritage of Romania. It advocates for the protection of Romania’s existing cultural heritage, teaching people to appreciate its value, and provides support for the restoration and re-use of historic buildings. The foundation supports the development of a cultural and economic network that respects traditional craftsmanship and the use of appropriate construction techniques.
Fundesarte is the leading institution in the promotion and development of Spanish craft enterprises since 1981. Its main goal is to manage projects to incorporate innovation in the craft sector as well as organise promotional activities, such as the National Crafts Awards.
The Crafts Center (Konsthantverkscentrum) represents over 800 active professional artisans in Sweden. Its mission is to improve their economic situation by expanding the market for high-quality crafts. The center informs members about business opportunities, provides them with contacts and arranges workshops and entrepreneurship training. It also showcases members’ work on its website and in exhibitions and at crafts fairs.
The Martin Bodmer Foundation is a private Swiss organization that houses a permanent collection of rare books and manuscripts in literature, religion, history and science from all major civilizations since the dawn of writing. It is involved in the métiers d’art through its expertise in conservation and restoration. This work, which began in the 1980s with the conservation of papyri, drawings and books, extends to the construction of conservation cases for manuscript collections, incunabula, and other objects mounted for display in the foundation’s museum.
The Vitromusée Romont and the Vitrocentre Romont are two foundations dedicated to the glass arts. The museum and the scientific research centre work in close collaboration with one another. The Vitromusée houses a significant historical collection of stained glass and reverse painting from Switzerland and elsewhere as well as collections in other fields of glass art. The museum often promotes contemporary glass art in temporary exhibitions and showcases glass artists in its workshop series. It also organizes the Vitrofestival, which introduces glass art to a wider public and stimulates exchange among artisans. The Vitrocentre conducts research on the history, conservation and technology of glass and provides expert consulting services.
The Crafts Council champions high-quality contemporary craft practice nationally and internationally through exhibitions, publications including Crafts magazine, education programmes, and curating the United Kingdom’s national collection. It aims to build a strong economy and infrastructure for contemporary craft and is a member of the World Crafts Council.
The New Craftsmen works with a selection of Britain’s finest craft makers to showcase the skills and craft products of the British Isles. It represents over 130 makers working in textiles, silverware, furniture, ceramics, jewellery, glassware and more, selling a carefully curated range of products and limited editions online and via its shop in Mayfair, London. The New Craftsmen forges collaborations with designers and artisans to give a contemporary take on specific skills and materials, and offers its customers, interior designers and architects a range of services that enable them to customise and commission bespoke pieces.
Work in progress…