The International Charter of Artistic Craftsmanship originated from a set of agreements that were signed in 2008 with the main purpose of creating European and international synergies in the artistic crafts sector and of giving greater visibility to artistic handicraft creations also on a political level. In this context, the Ateliers d’Art de France, CNA Nazionale, Confartigianato Imprese Nazionale and Artex drew up a Charter to highlight the values and special features of this sector and underline its strong and weak points.
The first objective of the Charter is to give international recognition to artistic craftsmanship, a sector that is often underrated or misconceived even though it represents an important economic, cultural and social value.
The artistic crafts industry possesses very special features. In order to support, protect and promote the sector, and at the same time encourage its internationalisation, it is necessary to define specific political and strategic lines of action, both on a European and international level.
The Charter defines artistic and traditional workmanship, sets out the values of the sector and formulates proposals after the preliminary analysis of the sector’s strengths and weaknesses.
In order for artistic craftsmanship to become a focal point of European policy, the Charter must be shared by as many international partners as possible. This is the only sector tat is universally present across Europe and the world, representing a unique heritage which is the fruit of age-old cultural, artistic and manufacturing traditions reflecting the unique qualities of the territories they belong to.
The first step towards involving the greatest number of partners was undertaken in December 2009, when the Charter was officially presented in Florence during the First International Conference on the Values of Artistic Craftsmanship, attended by Italian, French, Spanish and Finnish institutions, as well as a representative of the European Commission.
The second step was taken in January 2010, when the Presidents of Italy’s CNA Nazionale and Confartigianato Imprese Nazionale and the President of France’s Ateliers d’Art de France signed the Charter in Paris.
On April 26th of the same year, also the President of the Kyoto Traditional Arts and Crafts Sponsorship Foundation signed the Charter in Florence during the International Crafts Fair. On the same occasion, the first group of supporters of the Charter was created: AiCC - Associazione Italiana Città della Ceramica; Artex-Centro per l’Artigianato Artistico e Tradizionale della Toscana; Associazione Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte della Toscana; CEII - Centro Europeo di Impresa e di Innovazione del Trentino; Citema - Città Europea dei Mestieri d’Arte; CO.SE.R. – Calabria; Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art; Fondazione di Firenze per l’Artigianato Artistico; IVAT - Institut Valdôtain de l’Artisanat de Tradition; Liguriastyle.it; ViArt - Artigianato Artistico Vicentino.