Craft Council of NL holds 50th anniversary exhibition
Submitted by Susan Furneaux
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador (NL).
To celebrate the occasion, the Craft Council Gallery hosted an exhibition of fine crafts that heavily featured the artwork of alumni of CNA’s Textile & Apparel Design program.
In 1969, the province opened the Arts and Culture Centre in St. John’s. One of the tenants in the new building was the college’s Craft program, a one-year certificate offering founded to teach textile-based craft skills. In the early years, weaving was the main technique taught with students learning embroidery, knit and macramé as electives.
Over the years, the Craft program evolved to what is now Textile & Apparel Design. An industry partner, the program works closely with the Craft Council of NL; provincial Tourism, Arts, Culture and Recreation Department; and, the federal Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to provide support to the craft sector of our province through education, strategic planning and enthusiastic and talented graduates who enter the industry each year.
Introduced to the Craft Council of NL in their first year, Textile & Apparel Design students forge a relationship with the council through exhibitions, a peer jury, the craft fair and workshops. This relationship will continue to flourish as they transition into professional crafts people, artists and cultural administrators.
The 50th Anniversary Exhibition at the Craft Council Gallery is a testament to the strong partnership between the Craft Council of NL and CNA. In fact, the show was curated by CNA alum, Bruno Vinhas (graduated 2017), and it presents the work of nine alumni artists, including:
Susan Furneaux (1996) Rachel Ryan (1996)
Stephanie Stoker (2004) Sonya Coish (2019)
Lois Martin (c.1992) Rene Holloway (2018)
Rene Holloway (2018) Isabella St. John (1996)
Janet Davis (c.1992) Susan Lee Stephen (2001)
Recognized throughout Canada for their talent and skill, CNA’s graduates have contributed to the cultural and economic wellbeing this province for over 50 years. Now as NL becomes the focus of globetrotters looking for a unique travel experience, our graduates are now an integral part of the tourism sector as well.
Both CNA and the Craft Council of NL have been a very large part of my life. I was so happy and proud to be a part of the 50th anniversary and see so many friends, colleagues, and past students represented in the exhibition.
Speaking from personal experience as an artist and faculty member, I am confident the Textile & Apparel Design program and its graduates look forward to another 50 years of partnerships and collaboration to educate, plan for, and mentor the future generations.
The public is invited to attend the Fine Craft Exhibition at the Craft Council gallery at 155 Water Street in St. John’s until Tuesday, December 20th, 2022.