The Craft Council of BC, formerly the Craftsmen’s Association of BC, was created by interested members of the Visual Arts Committee of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver. This was done in recognition of the growing craft community in British Columbia.
CCBC’s first office, Resource centre, and Exhibit space was located in downtown Vancouver, in the Dominion Building at the corner of Hastings and Cambie Street. In December 1979, CCBC moved its operations to 1411 Cartwright Street on Granville Island which was developed as a project of the federal government through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
CCBC’s Cartwright Street Gallery was originally a separate society with its own Board of Directors, staff, and programming. In 1985 CCBC moved across the street to its current premises at 1386 Cartwright Street and in May 1986, it opened Crafthouse, a gallery and shop for fine contemporary craft. In 1990, the Cartwright Street Gallery became the Canadian Craft Museum which was located at Cathedral Place, Hornby Street, Vancouver from 1992 until it closed in 2002. Some of BC’s leading craftspeople were in the collection. These are the individuals who have made an important contribution to the craft and who have worked for many years in the discipline in which they are recognized. The collection currently resides with the City of Vancouver in storage at the Museum of Vancouver.
Setting the stage:
In 1943, UBC instructors Fred Amess and B.C Binnings envisioned Vancouver as a city on the verge of greatness and anticipated an urban building boom. They created the Art-in-Living Group, setting in motion a distinctive West Coast school of architecture and design including homes, offices, furniture, draperies, floor coverings, and tableware.
At the same time, The Vancouver Junior League formed the Community Arts Council to pick up on and forward ideas generated by the Art-In-Living Group. A major exhibition was organized at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 1949 consisting of full-scale models of four fully furnished rooms. The exhibition generated a great deal of discussion, illustrating a different approach to lifestyle and furnishing which opened the eyes of a wide sector of the population to new possibilities. (Drawn from Vancouver Arts and Artists 1931-1983, Post War Architecture in Vancouver by Douglas Shadbolt)
The Beginning of CABC:
The Craftsmen’s Association of BC (CABC), grew out of the Community Arts Council in the early 70’s through interested members of the Visual Arts Committee in recognition of the growing craft community in BC.
In June 1970, one of the first projects was publishing Craft Contacts which was a newsletter for craftsmen. A bi-monthly newsletter eventually became monthly and free. The first run made 150 copies. A second Craft Contacts was run in September. Craft Contacts eventually provided up-to-date information on local, provincial, and international events and updates related to crafts. (Exhibitions /Craft Fairs /Workshops /Courses /Conferences /Advocacy /Grants /Funding /Advertising /Craft highlights /CABC news surveys of craftspeople & results /Guild’s news /Tips from craftspeople) It also included Regional Representatives providing current information on craft-related news in their areas.
A Registered Society:
In 1972 a decision was made to become a formal organization and registered society under the Societies Act of BC. CABC was the first umbrella organization for the crafts in the province. CABC’s mandate was to provide information to members of the association and general public, provide a library, reading room, lounge & display area, sponsor exhibitions, and lectures, and provide and maintain files, indexes, and slide portfolios of members accessible to the public, to advance educational opportunities by providing scholarships, bursaries and other assistance (such as traveling assistance) to members; and to develop or encourage marketing opportunities.
An annual juried exhibition ‘Made by Hand’ which is of contemporary crafts made in BC, is launched at a number of venues in Vancouver by CABC as well as a co-sponsored Craft Market at Vancouver East Cultural Center.
The first Executive Meeting of the CABC was held in September 1972.
Following that, committees like the Education Committee, Exhibition Committee, Publicity Committee, and Marketing Committee were created under the new CABC Board which was formed after the First AGM held on October 25, 1972.
On June 12, 1973, we became a formal organization and a registered society under the Societies Act of BC known as the Craftsmen Association of BC (300 members) with Jean Marie Weakland as 1st CABC President. The first Executive was created in 1973-74. Our first AGM was held in October. At this time a consolidation of aims of the council like education, marketing, and communication with governments was developed. Also, the first Education Committee was set up.
In 2009 CABC, the Craft Association of BC was officially changed to CCBC, the Craft Council of BC.
To help us continue to grow and serve the craftspeople of BC: