The Craft Unit showcases fine crafts and applied arts of craftspeople who work in supported environments, including people who have learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health conditions and people facing migration and settling issues.
Contributing organisations receive up to 60% of sales revenue, which feeds back into developing and continuing this valuable work. The remainder supports the Craft Unit in running the website and carrying out marketing activities.
Each of the beautiful and inspirational items available through The Craft Unit have been handmade or hand designed by people attending the following organisations. It is with great pleasure that we introduce...
Arthouse Unlimited - Godalming, UK Arthouse Unlimited - formerly known as Arthouse Meath - showcases the skills and talents of women and men with a variety of learning and physical difficulties and complex epilepsy. Around 70 artists work in the studio alongside supportive instructors who enable the individuals to create artwork that is then developed into designer products for sale. Each piece therefore encapsulates the unique work of the individual. Arthouse Unlimited aims to create a platform of positive change in attitudes towards people who are often marginalised, through such high quality artwork and creative products. All sales revenue goes towards sustaining and evolving the enterprise.
Some of the Arthouse Unlimited artists displaying their products
Banwell Pottery - Somerset
The pottery is a purpose-built, community-based employment and training project which supports up to 30 people with learning disabilities and autism every week, enabling them to develop their skills and experience.
Participants are involved at every stage of production, from the original design concepts, to cutting and shaping the clay, glazing and finishing. The finished products are truly a team effort, with the potters playing to their strengths and what they enjoy, whether that be drawing designs, the production process, or the fine detail of painting tiles and decorations.
More recently Banwell Pottery have been expanding their support and are now using screen printing to develop a new range of products using our colourful and unique designs on different materials, including cards and textiles.
To see the whole collection from Banwell Pottery, click here
Some ceramicists at Banwell Pottery working in their studio
Camphill Village Trust
Camphill Village Trust is a national charity that helps people with learning disabilities to live meaningful lives in supported communities. CVT creates opportunities for personal growth, fulfilling work, friendship and social interaction, education and training, and cultural and spiritual inspiration. Everyone receives the support they need to participate fully in the life within the communities and their surrounding areas. The Grange and Oaklands are creative communities in Gloucestershire where members practice ceramics, textiles and basket weaving.
East London Textile Arts (ELTA) - London
East London Textile Arts (ELTA) is an independent organisation based in East London. It was set up by local people of different faiths and ethnicities to make textiles that reflect the cultural diversity of the area.
ELTA has been working with adults with learning disabilities for over four years, mostly at day centres in the local area. This is part of a larger and long-term arts project working with marginalised groups in East London. ELTA believes in the long-term development of creative abilities and tailors their work to all interests, abilities and cultures so that each individual can develop their unique talents.
To see the whole collection from East London Textile Arts, click here
Kisalli - Vihti, Finland Kisalli is a weaving and craft studio for adults with learning disabilities. Their focus is to collaborate with established artists through craft production and the arts. Each Kisalli craftsperson participates in the making of a range of craft products, depending on their particular interests, thus building on their knowledge and refining their skills. Kisalli takes and experiential approach to craftsmanship and facilitates new and evolving insights into making. Kisalli’s handcrafted products are carefully made from high quality natural materials, often combining a designer’s vision with the highly skilled Kisalli craftsmanship.
To see the whole collection from Kisalli, click here
A weaver working at the loom at Kisalli
Livstycket - Stockholm, Sweden
Livstycket is a contemporary knowledge and design centre in Tensta, Stockholm in which women from all around the world participate. Livstycket’s aim is to give women who have migrated to Sweden the chance to learn the Swedish language and culture, while enhancing their self-esteem. Even if the activities are aimed at women, men are, of course, also welcome to participate. Their approach is functional pedagogy; artistic activities like sewing, embroidery and textile printing are combined with theoretical education in Swedish, social studies and IT. In this way, the words represent a function, a reality and a context. Livstycket affirm that the words "scissors, thread and thank you" are merely words until they acquire and represent a real meaning.
To see the whole collection from Livstycket, click here
Openstorytellers - Frome, Somerset
Openstorytellers is a charity that works to enrich and empower the lives of people who are marginalised because of learning and communication difficulties, and is co-run by people with a learning disability. They do this through varied work around the telling and sharing of stories, using a collaborative approach based on fifteen years of specialist research and pioneering practice. Openstorytellers supports people to tell their life stories, and in some cases to have these published. Members also explore their creativity through arts and craft practice and have recently developed a line of hand screen-printed cushions.
Poetry in Wood - London, UK
Poetry in Wood is a person-centred creative environment for people with learning disabilities; that is kind and positive and values each person and their abilities. They promote independence and empowerment through training and employment and help people to contribute to, and participate in the wider community.
Poetry in Wood deliver an NVO Open College Network accredited course in Product Design and Development. The skills gained include the use of woodworking tools, pyrography, machine working and workshop safety.Towards the end of the course, students have the opportunity to gain work experience in the Poetry in Wood social enterprise.
Some of the Poetry in Wood artists at work
Studio 306 Collective CIC - London, UK
Studio 306 specialise in designing and making high quality ceramics, jewellery, textiles and screen printed products. The aim of the project is to empower disadvantaged local individuals by offering a creative space for those who are recovering from mental illness. At Studio 306 they have the opportunity to rediscover forgotten skills, develop new ones and boost their confidence within a working environment. Studio 306 Collective CIC is a not-for-profit organisation, so money from the sale of the products goes back into the project.
To see the whole collection from Studio 306 Collective CIC, click here
Workshop 305, London UK Workshop 305 is a Community Interest Company dedicated to the arts and crafts and to working with adults with learning or physical disabilities. Their aim is to focus on high quality workshops that provide both a rewarding and challenging environment for their participants, in order that they can explore a range of artistic practices and ideas. Such workshops include ceramics and mosaic, woodwork and textiles. Profits are used to support the work that they do both in the immediate and wider local community.
To see the whole collection from Workshop 305, click here
A Workshop 305 ceramicist working at the wheel
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