Until 1973, the crafts in Cornwall had no unifying or representative body. Small groups had formed in individual crafts, their aims being partly social and partly educational, but the majority of craftspeople were working in near isolation. The fine craftsmen and women of Cornwall producing, then as now, work of quality comparable with any in the world, were better known in London than in their own county.
The Cornwall Crafts Association originated from an idea of the weaver Joan Lee. She contacted a small group of professional people including the late Wyndham Goodden, crafts advisor and former Professor of Textiles at the Royal College of Art; John Barnicoat, Principal of the (then) Falmouth School of Art; and the late Janet LEACH who played an important role as a founder committee member. They met in Truro in July 1973 and formed a steering committee. The first General Meeting was held in October of that year. The response from craftspeople and lay supporters was tremendous, and the Association was established with an initial membership of just over a hundred people. From that day they have given their strong backing, and it is to this membership that the Association owes its existence and progress over the last 34 years.
For nearly thirty years the Cornwall Crafts Association has supported the craftmakers resident in Cornwall to encourage the highest standards of design and making. It also aims to reach a wider audience to promote a greater appreciation and understanding of contemporary design-led craftwork.
The Association is a member-driven self-supporting charity and has, since its inception in 1973, gained a reputation nationally for the quality of craftwork of its past and present members. The galleries it manages are well established and attract a wide-ranging audience from around the country. Exhibiting with the Association not only provides an outlet for selling work, but also allows the craftworker direct contact with customers who often commission work privately.
The President of the Association, HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Cornwall, says: "Visitors to the Association's galleries cannot fail to be impressed by member's skill and flair by which, through work exhibited, our lives are enriched."