Over time we have lost the skills of making and using crafts of yesteryear. When was the last time you weaved a basket or made a tea doll?
Heritage NL and the Craft Council of NL are concerned about this loss of traditional know-how, and are working together to compile a list of makers, craft producers, and skills in decline.
The Heritage at Risk survey by the two organizations aims to assess the current viability of traditional heritage crafts in NL, and identify the crafts that are at risk of dissapearing altogether. It also aims to create a list of crafts, along with information about said craft and who may practise it.
“Living in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean our craft producers have spent years using their heritage of English, Irish, French, and Indigenous ancestors to grow their creativity and developed a true sense of place that is one of a kind,” says Rowena House, Executive Director of the Craft Council of NL, “These skills will only survive if they continue to be taught through each generation. They provide a tangible link to our roots, and they are part of our shared heritage.”
With the survey, organizers are asking craft producers, makers, and builders to provide feedback on the current state of the heritage craft form they are most familiar with in Newfoundland and Labrador. The survey covers topics such as the number of makers currently practising specific skills, and issues limiting the health of craft in NL. Organizers hope that the future Heritage Craft at Risk List will help safeguard, document, and stimulate production of contemporary, traditional, and Indigenous craft. They are looking for feedback from anyone at any level of practise, from professional or amateur craft producers, and from traditional makers of objects ranging from snowshoes to dry stone walls.
Interested makers and craft producers can take the survey online at www.heritagecraft.ca, at one of the public sessions to be held over the summer, or by calling the Heritage Craft At Risk toll-free hotline at 1-888-739-1892 ext 6.