France has a wonderful system for supporting traditional crafts.
“These craftsmen, second to none, whose talents are often anonymous
and unsung, deserve to be better known, declared the Minister of
Culture and Communication,… For although the heritage is recognised
primarily in the form of historic monuments, she explained, …our
country also has a great many highly skilled craftsmen and women,
whose expertise is in itself a genuine yet intangible heritage. In
order to raise the status of these «exceptional skills» and to try to
ensure they are passed on, a Traditional Crafts Council was created in
1994. Its purpose is to preserve and develop craft skills both in the
field of conservation and contemporary creative work, selecting high-
flying artisans with a view to awarding them the title of Master
Craftsman. Each of them will then be given a grant in order to
provide a three year training in their workshop for one student with
the ability to acquire these traditional skills and to perpetuate
This is one model we could use for our traditional crafts association. Declaring people “master craftsmen” or “living national treasures” could bring a lot of attention to the traditional crafts, give the individuals a boost in their business locally and nationally and if it was tied to funding for a “skills training” scheme like the French system could really help keep the best of our living heritage alive for future generations.