Central Body for the Creative Crafts (COSA)

The Central Body for the Creative Crafts (Stichting Centraal Orgaan voor het Scheppend Ambacht, COSA, 1948-1984). COSA was founded by a number of individuals in collaboration with the government (Ministry of Economic Affairs) and the commercial sector to support artists and artistic craftsmanship. COSA functioned as an umbrella organisation for six regional organisations (namely the Stichting Fryske Ambachts- en Folkskunst, the Verenigingen Brabants Edelambacht, Scheppend Ambacht Gelderland, Goois Scheppend Ambacht, Scheppend Ambacht Overijssel and Scheppend Ambacht Limburg). Its objective was to improve the level of quality by organising lectures and trainings, giving advice and counselling, mediating between artists and clients and promoting the interests of artists and craftsmen. This also concerned the restoration of monumental buildings as part of the government-funded percentage agreements. COSA published the magazine Scheppend Ambacht, organised exhibitions and had their own permanent exhibition space at the Prinsenhof in Delft. The works that were exhibited there were also for sale, since increasing sales was also one of its objectives. COSA also contributed to the organisation of exhibitions outside of the Netherlands.
In 1956, COSA published the book Het scheppend ambacht in Nederland (‘Creative Crafts in the Netherlands’), in which one can read: ‘Why wouldn’t we replace those hideous smokers’ accessories that always come up at anniversaries and family parties with a beautiful piece of pottery, or any other unique piece with a personal touch?’ It also states that is was often difficult to bring those individually-minded artists together, who often lived a secluded life. COSA had 500 members in 1958.
Others involved in COSA were J.J.E. Salden, J.F. van Aalst, René Smeets, Otto van Tussenbroek, H.J. Verwiel and Brita Bakema. In 1981, COSA published the book De nieuwe vrijheid van de ambachtskunsten (‘The new freedom of the creative crafts’), which provided insights into the developments of this field. Economic Affairs abolished the subsidy for COSA in 1984.

The Dutch version of this biography is taken from the book Visies op vormgeving, het Nederlandse ontwerpen in teksten deel 2: 1940-2000 (2008) by Frederike Huygen. The following sources have been used for this biography:
– Issues of ‘Scheppend Ambacht’.