The crafts sector is a burgeoning industry, worth some £826m and largely driven by female, self-employed entrepreneurs, says a Crafts Council report due to be published later this month.
The survey, the first of its kind in the past ten years, identifies the crafts as the only ‘art form’ in which women significantly outnumber men. The sector consists of 67 per cent females compared to 33 per cent men, according to the report.
Other key findings are that individuals entering the sector are getting younger, with more people setting up crafts businesses in their 20s. They are also more highly qualified and, with 94 per cent job satisfaction, are happier with their lot than ever before.
‘This survey follows up reports in 1983 and 1994, so we’re in a unique position to look at years of analysis,’ says Crafts Council director Louise Taylor. She adds that, as no surveys look at individual design businesses or artists with a similar level of scrutiny, it could serve as a ‘model’ for those who work in other creative industries.
According to Taylor, the future looks bright for the crafts sector: ‘When Estelle Morris [launched the report last week], she said that, if we play it right, the 21st century is the time for crafts.’
The public’s fascination with ‘buying into individuality’ is a boon to the industry. However, Taylor cautions that craftspeople still need support when it comes to reaching markets, as the report highlights.
The Making It In the 21st Century report was prepared jointly by the Crafts Council, Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Wales. Its findings are based on a survey of more than 2000 craftspeople and designer-makers across England and Wales.