From October 19th to the 21st, 2017, the CCF/FCMA participated in the exclusive Craft Think Tank, hosted by the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California. For three days, thirty five delegates (each in attendance by invitation of the organizers) exchanged information and ideas about the state of craft in America. Throughout these discussions, the CCF/FCMA shared the Canadian perspective, informing leaders in the US Craft sector about our craft experience, the unique structure and focus of the CCF/FCMA, the similar issues and challenges we face, and the means we have used to address them.

During the official proceedings, Maegen Black (Director of the CCF/FCMA) made a brief Petcha Kutcha style presentation about the organization and our current focus. As the general theme of the Craft Think Tank was Craft Education, images and basic information about many of the most prominent craft schools in Canada were shared, giving a sense of the breadth of educational opportunities in Canada. A highlight on the changing landscape of craft programs specific to Indigenous artists in Canada was also made. The CCF/FCMA’s 2016 conference on craft education was discussed, and the invitation to participate in next year’s conference on placemaking, set for October 2018 in Nova Scotia, was extended. In closing, was shared, bringing the program and its resources to a captive, interested audience.

The main thrust of the presentation was to give a taste of what the Canadian craft sector is, how we work together, and the importance of collaboration. Our goal, to direct American eyes to the activity and programs of their northern neighbours, was certainly accomplished. Delegates consisted of representatives from across 17 states, as well as two Canadians, Maegen Black and Charles Lewton-Brain.

The most valuable component of participation in the Craft Think Tank were the connections made. The opportunity to network with representatives of the American craft sector, from educational institutions, galleries, museums, residency programs, and quite importantly: arts service organizations, were unparalleled.

Watch for a full report on the Craft Think Tank content, which will include resources, shared ideas and examples of innovative programming, and links to valuable content online. Coming soon!