Arts and crafts producers – professional or amateur – are being asked to consider whether they would like to get involved in the establishment of a Cairngorms National Park arts and crafts association.
The Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is keen to hear from all sorts of arts and crafts producers in the Park – from painters and potters to knitters and wood turners, as well as retailers of local products. The proposal is to set up an association which would help promote the sector collectively, linking retailers to producers and vice-versa, and helping smaller producers become more established. There are a variety of activities an association could get involved with, from producing a crafts brochure, helping new producers start their own businesses, or setting up an arts and crafts trail around the Park.
Similar initiatives in other parts of Scotland have proved popular. One such example is the Orkney Craft Industries Association, which started in 1997 with 13 members. The introduction of a craft trail soon after added another popular visitor attraction to Orkney’s list of things to see and do but more importantly, it has been good for trade. Tourists are encouraged to visit the premises of arts and crafts producers to see how things are made. This has helped some rural businesses to grow and expand.
The establishment of a group in the Cairngorms National Park could boost business for those operating in this sector, make better use of marketing cash, and encourage amateur producers to ply their trade.
John Thorne, Economic Development Officer at the CNPA explained: “We’ve seen this sort of joint marketing and promotional efforts pay off in other places. Locally, Angus Crafts and North East Open Studios have both shown that local marketing works. A Cairngorms National Park arts and crafts association would compliment and work closely with these existing local groups, helping visitors buy high quality locally produced arts and crafts and learn more about how and where they are made.
“The Cairngorms Visitor Survey highlighted the desire among visitors to buy locally produced arts and crafts so the sector clearly plays an important role in the economy of the Park. With this in mind, we want to help get an arts and crafts association up and running. The idea is that the producers would run the association themselves, becoming a voice for arts and crafts across the Park but we can help to get things off the ground.”
Anyone interested in finding out more or who has ideas about how to set up and develop an arts and crafts association is asked to contact John Thorne, Economic Development Officer at the CNPA on tel: 01479 870520 or email: [email protected]