In 2015, the SCC is celebrating its 40th anniversary. In 1975, fifty-seven Saskatchewan artisans organized themselves into a determined force with a single voice and a common purpose. That purpose was to promote and raise the profile of Saskatchewan artisans, improve the quality of work produced, and facilitate communication among the membership. Each of these people donated just $5 to this cause and the Saskatchewan Craft Council was born. You can read more about our history here.
Our board members and staff have come together to conduct interviews with as many of these founding members as we can, in celebration of this milestone. We are interested in these founders’ thoughts around why we came into being and their insights for the future.
Cec Cote has been a member of the SCC since she helped found it in 1975. She is a juried member in clay and sculpture and has served two terms on our Board of Directors. Cec also worked for us as a Gallery Assistant, and is also a co-sponsor, along with Handmade House, of the Dimensions Award for Excellence in Functional and Production Ware.
What compelled you to throw your $5 and yourself into creating a new organization dedicated to supporting craft?
As I’ve always been proud of, and keen to promote, Saskatchewan artists and artisans. It wasn’t a big stretch to throw $5 into the building of an organization whose goal was to do just that, filling a community need. Initially, in the early stages of my SCC association, participation as a creative/making member was somewhat curtailed, not only by raising a family, but a feeling of my own creative inadequacy. The creative urge and actively making continued slowly, though on a back burner. However, more active participation with the SCC involved volunteerism through meeting attendance, serving two terms on the Board, taking part in event planning when possible – ie. the 25th Anniversary Delicious Dishes Celebration, which utilized my suggestion for a retrospective exhibition of original members; coordinating the mural on the side of the building as a joint project for the SCC and The StarPhoenix; being a low key supporter with artwork purchases and other initiatives, and eventually sponsoring a Dimensions Award, which continues to this day.
What are you most proud of over the last 40 years?
I take pride in these volunteer activities, and that now, being able to focus entirely on my creative side, am a juried member in pottery and sculpture.
What has disappointed you?
When thinking of disappointments, my only thoughts on that subject would be the lack of facility to educate in aesthetics and nurture emerging artisans who may have been denied a juried position, in an effort to encourage and not lose a membership possibility. When on the Board, I had proposed an idea, which didn’t fly, to have an area – in the sales venue – to show (and perhaps sell) clearly identified emerging artisan works. As sales participation is a many-faceted learning curve, it was heartening to see the past summer’s WaterFront sale did allow Emerging Artists to participate.
What are your hopes for the future?
Through the many years of association, the Saskatchewan Craft Council has weathered many storms by adjusting and reinventing itself, in addition to offering new initiatives, which all bodes well for the future of this organization.
What are you doing to celebrate Craft Year 2015 and our 40th anniversary?
Personally, I can’t say I will be doing anything specific in my studio to celebrate the 40th Anniversary, but enjoyed participating in the 40th Anniversary Members Show and Sale in the Affinity Gallery.