HISTORY

The World Crafts Council (WCC) was established in 1964 as a non-profit membership organisation. It was set up to promote an international interest in crafts and encourage contact between the craftspeople of different countries. Although the WCC was founded by an American, Mrs Aileen Vanderbilt Webb, and the secretariat was based in New York City until 1984, there was a strong European involvement in both management and membership affairs from the beginning. The committee, which guided the organisation in the early years, included several European members. By 1974, when WCC celebrated its first ten years at the 6th General Assembly in Toronto, discussions were in progress about a new structure which would reflect regional commitment. This was implemented following the 7th Assembly in Oaxtepec, Mexico, in 1976. Five independent regions were established – Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America . These were to come together, through their presidents, with the elected WCC President, to form the Executive Board.

 

Mrs Vanderbilt Webb
The 4th General Assembly was held in 1970 in Dublin, Ireland. A special donation by Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb, had workshops of various crafts included for the first time. Workshops of this kind have thereafter been a characteristic ingredient of WCC conferences.

The first European Regional Assembly took place during the General Assembly in Toronto in 1974, and the second in Oaxtepec. A crafts conference was held in Kracow, Poland, in 1977, at which national delegates developed ideas for the European structure. This enabled the first European Board to be elected in Kyoto in 1978 after the bylaws of the WCC had been ratified at the General Assembly. The Board wished to establish a permanent organisation for WCC-Europe to provide the basis for strong and regular collaboration within the region. After much discussion and consultation it was agreed at the Assembly in Florence in 1979 to set up an independent secretariat funded by European members. Terms for regional membership were set out and an annual quota payment introduced. The seventh European Assembly took place in Vienna in 1980 at the 9th WCC General Assembly – which proved to be the beginning of a difficult period for the whole organisation. The General Assembly in Vienna attracted 1500 delegates and the international conference and international workshop programme, studio visits and lectures were considered a great success. The costs, however, were considerable, and were unfortunately financially damaging to the Austrian National Entity, the Austrian Crafts Council. Without the generous support of the WCC’s founder, Mrs Webb, who died in 1979, it was no longer possible to maintain the level of international activity, or to provide financial aid to the regions for their programmes. Despite these circumstances, the European activities continued thanks to regional funding and the strong involvement of its entities. The European Assembly has continued as an annual event since 1977. It remains a valuable means of reinforcing international cooperation between crafts organisations in Europe. This account is based on notes by Anne Leclercq and John Vedel-Rieper.

 

[About Mrs Vanderbilt Webb] ‘Her great contribution, I think, was her vision in seeing a need for a world body for communication between craftsmen. I think few people realize the network that they can, and do use stems from the World Crafts Council.’

Marea GazzardWCC President, Asia, 1970-76

 

WCC-Europe Presidents, Vice Presidents and Board Members 2009-2018

2017-2018

Louise Allen, Ireland – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Laura Miguel, Spain – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Elisa Guidi, Italy Aude Tahon, France Hege Henriksen, Norway

2016-2017

Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Louise Allen, Ireland – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Victoria Rice, UK Elisa Guidi, Italy Serge Nicole, France

2015-2016

Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Louise Allen, Ireland – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Victoria Rice, UK Elisa Guidi, Italy Serge Nicole, France

2014-2015

Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Louise Allen, Ireland – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Victoria Rice, UK Elisa Guidi, Italy Serge Nicole, France

2013-2014

Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Trude G. Ugelstad, Norway – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Louise Allen, Ireland Hanne Houlbourg, Denmark Anne Leclercq, Belgium Wallonia-Brussels Lala de Dios, Spain Johan Valcke, Belgium-Flanders

2012-2013

Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Trude G. Ugelstad, Norway – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Louise Allen, Ireland Hanne Houlbourg, Denmark Anne Leclercq, Belgium Wallonia-Brussels Lala de Dios, Spain

2011-2012

Bernd Roeter, Germany – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Rosy Greenlees, UK – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Nina Linde, Denmark Bie Luyssaert, Belgium- Flanders Trude Ugelstad, Norway

2010-2011

Bernd Roeter, Germany – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Clare Twomey, UK – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Pablo Blanco, Spain Nina Linde, Denmark Bie Luyssaert, Belgium-Flanders

2009-2010

Bernd Roeter, Germany – Regional European President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Clare Twomey, UK – Regional Vice President/WCC (Int) Executive Board Pablo Blanco, Spain Nina Linde, Denmark Bie Luyssaert, Belgium-Flanders

 

‘Crafts are produced from the heart and mind of an artisan, whose hands personify it, exalt it, as a work of art. Touch it, feel it, turn it in your hand, and you can feel the pulse of the Artisan who made it. That is life. Indeed an Artisan’s Craft is a way of life.’

Mrs Siva ObeysekerePresident WCC International, 1992-1996