Saturday 8 September 2012

Craft Aotearoa & Kete Launch Photos & Speeches

Chairperson Penny Eames 

Thankyou all for coming to the launch of Craft Aotearoa and also Kete - especially to those who have come from around New Zealand to be with us here tonight for this very special celebration.Welcome Kevin Murray and thank you for your endorsement of Craft Aotearoa. We are very happy you could join us.

Deborah White, Whitespace Gallery.

We received apologies from the Honourable Christopher Finlayson, Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage and MP for Christchurch Central, Nicky Wagner.

Thank you to our lawyer Phillippa Wilkie of Chapman Tripp. We were excited to be accepted into the Champan Tripp pro bono programme, and to receive our registration with the Charities Commission nine months later. Phillippa researched internationally and steered us through the process of ensuring our aims and objectives will benefit the wider public.

A BIG thank you to the following organisations for helping us to promote our national craft research project:

Kete Craft & Design Fair, NZAFA, Wellington.
Asia Foundation New Zealand 
Auckland Studio Potters
Australasian Craft Network
Centre for Fine Woodworking
Craft 2.0
Creative Napier
Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic
Form Gallery
Govett-Brewster Art Gallery
Hearts in Crafts
Iwi Art
Lopdell House & Gallery
Museums Aotearoa
National Association of Woodworkers NZ 
Quadrant Gallery
Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui
Toi Maori Aotearoa
The Big Idea
The Christchurch Textiles Network of Guilds 
The National
Wanganui Glass Group 
and many others!

Also a wide range of individuals including Moyra Elliott, D Wood, Jillian de Beer, and others.

We really appreciate all your feedback and support and look forward to exploring collaborative projects with you in the future. Get in touch with us if you are interested in elevating craft practice in New Zealand and fostering the retention and development of craft skills. We are interested in collaboration opportunities that maximise the use of funding and investment.

International guest speaker Kevin Murray and Craft Aotearoa trustees.
Thank you also to our 570 ‘likes’ on Facebook page, and the 1,800 people that visit the Craft Aotearoa Blog each month. We love your feedback and keep sending us photos of your work as we do receive international buyer enquiries from time to time.

Thank you to our presentation partners this year – Handmade 2012 here in Wellington, Objectspace in Auckland, and the Dunedin School of Art at Otago Polytechnic. Finally, thank you to the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts for supporting the launch of Craft Aotearoa. We are delighted to be launching alongside Kete, a brand new craft and design fair in New Zealand.

Founding Director, Jenna-Lea Philpott

Kia koutou. Thank you all for coming this evening. I believe we have 350 people here tonight, a fantastic turnout. I’d like to acknowledge this wonderful waterfront location and the generous support we have received from the NZ Academy of Fine Arts. It is so exciting to have you all here with us as we officially launch Craft Aotearoa Charitable Trust, and I would like to share a Maori whakatauki published by Kura Gallery last week, in honour of this moment:  

Ma te whakaatu, ka mohio
Ma te mohio, ka marama
Ma te marama, ka matau
Ma te matau, ka ora

By discussion comes understanding, by understanding comes light, by light comes wisdom, by wisdom comes wellbeing. Craft practice embodies discussion, understanding, wisdom and wellbeing. 

Mia Hamilton on show at Kete.
Thank you to my founding trustees Penny Eames and Warren Feeney for all their support the past two years and welcome to Peter Methven, our new Trustee and Treasurer. Of course, we wouldn’t be standing here today without the support of Phillippa Wilkie at Chapman Tripp, who believes in the values of craftsmanship and the role of craft in our society. I have greatly appreciated all her support – particularly during our phonecalls which were often undertaken during various earthquakes!

Thank you also to Emma Ward from Creative New Zealand for her ongoing support, even in matters such as helping to keep me informed and to reconnect with others in the weeks following the February 22nd earthquake when I was without power, phone coverage, running water and sewerage.

When I returned to New Zealand at the end of 2009, I became conscious of the gap in national craft support. Whilst working in the UK, I was employed to manage the development of a UK wide skills plan for craft, also known as the UK Craft Blueprint. Launched at the House of Lords, this document outlined issues that have also been commented on in a New Zealand context.

Textiles Platter by Dr. Jessica Payne
Thank you to the 654 people who took part in the recent 2012 New Zealand Craft Survey. As the most recent major national craft research project to be undertaken in New Zealand, we are looking forward to developing a profile of the NZ craft sector and are now working towards publishing a NZ Craft Action Plan encompassing these results in 2013. In the meantime, here are some of the headline results:
  • Nearly 50% of respondents belong to an online craft community and 40% to a craft industry group.
  • The research found the most popular method of craft engagement is attending craft markets and events, closely followed by attending craft exhibitions.
  • 56% buy and collect craft objects and 70% prefer to buy from a dedicated craft & design retail store.
  • 30% of respondents exhibit and sell their work internationally
  • Nearly half the respondents describe their skill level as mid-career
  • More than half believe the range of training and professional development opportunities are either insufficient or not great. This has not been helped by the demise of community education classes.
Riding Stool by Designtree.
As part of the research, we included questions specific to Christchurch and Canterbury and found that 60% have been forced to find new space to make and to show new work and 40% are concerned about how to continue their craft practice in Christchurch at this time. The biggest concern is how the craft sector is being positioned and supported as part of the redevelopment of the city. (This outweighed concerns about access to local exhibition opportunities, funding support and other options).

Lamps by Designtree.
As Penny (Craft Aotearoa Chairperson) said, we are looking forward to establishing projects in response to these results and we welcome offers of collaboration and support, both financial and personal.
Finally, thank you to Form Gallery and Elfi Spiewack who loaned me this beautiful necklace to wear tonight and also to my fiancĂ©e Ray, who couldn’t be here tonight but has been wonderfully supportive as I have worked on setting up Craft Aotearoa these past two years.

More photos available at:

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