The World Crafts Council Europe is a European network representing 35 craft organisations from 22 European countries whose main mission is to promote crafts in Europe, by increasing the awareness and appreciation of crafts as an integral part of the cultural, social, and economic well-being of society. WCCE presents a series of pieces by 9 artisans, which respond to the concept of ‘Praxis’ in the European Year of Skills. Selected works pay homage to the evolution of craft techniques from traditional through to the contemporary moment and demonstrate current discourses around the human relationship with the digital and the global move away from working with one’s hands and body in education, economy and everyday life, toward values of efficiency, precision and scale. Praxis is embodied in both skill and knowledge and in a time of rapid development in processes, techniques and information access, the selected works seek to represent how craft acts as an expression of human values and achievement and as a result, reflects upon us, something of the spirit of the time.
In the European Year of Skills WCCE intends to showcase the skills and competences of European Craftspeople paying homage to the evolution of craft techniques from traditional through to the contemporary moment. Of the more than 300 submissions received, the Board and Secretariat of WCCE made a pre-selection that was downsized by the curators Romain Juilha and Jean Blanchaert to 9 artists who represent the variety of materials, techniques and visions of European creativity at this very moment. The works of both Elly Glossop and Elysia Athanatos demonstrate the rich diversity of the world of ceramics and how the material can be perceived in various ways. Both play with landscapes and spaces which suggest expressions of geology through waves of fluid movement which fill the ‘void’ with light. Likewise, the work of Helena Schepens, produced in metal, also plays with light and shadow through patterns inspired by nature. Joaquim Falcó & Meritxell Tembleque take the birds and their immense symbolic universe as an inspiration to color their ever changing glass works. Maria Pratas shows the link between life in the hinterland and everyday life at the sea uniting different shapes and colors through a spiral basketry technique. Helen O'Shea uses textile techniques to produce fine artworks using waste plastic appealing to our consciousness about the sustainability of materials. Within the same spirit, Simone Post has created a cabinet made from the misprints of Vlisco. Saar Scheerlings work is a result of a process much like a harbor or trade route: unknown ingredients meet and influence each other and result in something new. And Leonie Burkhardt brings the craft of weaving into a third dimension.