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The Guild is an association of artists, designers and makers who are selected for the quality and originality of their work. Set up in 1986, the 25th anniversary was in 2011, it was established to provide a support network for professional artists who are self employed, creating and selling their own designs.

With about 24 members the guild now boasts a portfolio of professional artists who meet on a regular basis and organise selling events as well as a major exhibition each year.

The work shown by members features fine art, textiles, jewellery, ceramics, glass, wood turning, embroidery and photography. The emphasis is on a high standard of quality items which are individually made - at a time when there is fierce competition from imported goods and mass produced crafts.

As an indication of the guild's credibility the membership features artists and makers who have exhibited widely, some have won awards and others have gained prestigious commissions. Although the guild organises events for members they also participate independently in other prime events and many sell to private galleries throughout the country.

The guild welcomes new members and can provide up to date information about each of its existing artists. Apart from the opportunities to exhibit, the guild also creates a support network for its members and an exchange of information and ideas.

The Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire began life in 1986 under the auspices of The West Lancashire Enterprise Trust and was called The Craft Guild of West Lancashire. In September 1987 it held its first event at Briars Hall Hotel in Lathom with 20 members exhibiting. By 1988 there were 23 members and a programme of six events.

The West Lancashire Enterprise Trust sponsored the Guild by providing secretarial services, business advice and planning, but more importantly the Directors had faith in the Guild and its members. The Trust was initially located in the Malt House in Ormskirk, then it moved to the Old Stables in Burscough before being subsumed into Business Link.

After many years of support by the Trust and then Business Link, the Guild had to stand on its own feet and move forward. With a membership of 30 from both inside and outside West Lancashire and increasingly further afield a new secretary was found, an ex founder member, and it soon became obvious that the Guild could only function if the work was shared between members. After much debate a plan was put forward to run the Guild as a cooperative with every member contributing. This regeneration helped the Guild move forward and membership increased. Now an Executive committee coordinates the work of several specialised sub committees and reports back to the membership.

In 2005, to reflect the geographically wider membership and exhibiting area the name was changed to The Art and Craft Guild of Lancashire. The Guild has now “come of age” and like all growing and maturing things needs to look forward to its future development. Will we sell on the internet? (Many members do already). Expand into Europe? (The Guild has already had a twinning exhibition in Germany in 1990). One thing is certain, the ideals laid down by our founders of handmade, high quality, exclusivity, individuality and professionalism will always continue to be of utmost importance.